By Michael E. Brooks
“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5 NKJV).
In 1991, two Americans departed for Bangladesh to spend about two months preaching in that Islamic nation. During their flight Operation Desert Storm (also known as Persian Gulf War #1) was launched.
Upon arrival the Americans discovered that not only was their nation at war with an Islamic nation, but there was an international gathering of Muslims taking place in Bangladesh and feelings were very strong against the United States.
They realized that not only was it unlikely that they could effectively preach there, but that they would be in considerable danger if they tried to do so.
Instead of remaining there, they immediately traveled to Nepal where they were welcomed and spent several weeks preaching with good results. Their effort launched an ongoing evangelistic ministry in this Hindu nation, and has resulted in many conversions and the planting of many churches.
I was impressed many years ago by a novel which noted the impossibility of accomplishing certain things at particular times. The author was especially concerned with technological advances.
He described certain men of great foresight who attempted inventions but were unable to succeed, in part because materials and processes essential to success were simply not available. One example was Leonardo DaVinci, whose visions of flight were simply not possible with the heavy metals and fabrics of his day.
The Bible records instances of providential guidance which seem to reflect this same understanding. For example, on Paul’s second missionary journey he attempted to enter the Roman provinces of Asia and Bithynia but was restrained by the Spirit from doing so (Acts 16:6-7).
Later, Paul spent most of his third journey in Asia, centered in the city of Ephesus. We cannot know why he was first prevented, then enabled to work there, but a reasonable explanation is that on his first attempt the time was not yet right.
We are at the beginning of a new year — 2010. It holds many opportunities. No doubt there are things we desire to do during these next twelve months which we will successfully accomplish, but others at which we will fail.
Some failures will be the results of our own mistakes; others may be caused by inappropriate timing. We cannot always know, except perhaps through failure and subsequent success, when this is the real reason.
An even more important application of this principle is to be always aware that opportunities will be presented, and that some of them may not ever be repeated. We must be ready to seize the day (Hebrews 3:13,15), acting without hesitation or doubt when a special demand is made upon us.
Once today is finished, so may all its promise and rewards be gone forever. The time is right, for something and someone. Let us be diligent to use our time as appropriately and productively as possible.
By Michael E. Brooks