By Gary Hoban
From Genesis to Revelation, there are accounts of people whose lives did not turn out the way they thought they would. Starting with Adam and Eve and continuing through the Apostle John, men and women who thought they knew what life held for them and their families ended up in situations totally different than what they expected. In many respects, the ability of these people to change their thinking and accept radical changes in their plans determined how many of God’s blessings they enjoyed.
Adam and Eve looked forward to an eternity in the Garden of Eden. Nothing could be more perfect than that situation. But, the serpent threw a spanner into their plans and the results were not pleasant. Instead of the daily bliss God initially promised; hard work, pain, shortened lives and constant fighting was the outcome as shown by the murder of Abel by his brother Cain. One transgression totally altered the plans of billions of people for thousands of years.
Noah thought he was just going to live his life, raise his family and love his God for the few hundred years he had in this life. One day God instructed him to drop everything and start building the world’s first and biggest boat, preach to the curiosity seekers who came to see Noah’s work and obey God’s Word regarding animals and when to shut the doors of the ark. Noah faithfully carried out God’s instructions and, the rest is history .
Abraham lived as a vagrant most of his life. Despite being a wealthy man, God did not allow him to build a city and live happily ever after in it. I imagine Abraham and Sarah had dreams of having a big family and settling down for a few hundred years. By the time they were nearly 100 years old, they still had no children or a place to call home. Somehow they overcame their bitterness at how their lives turned out and believed God when He told them they would have a son and the world’s largest extended family.
Joseph assumed he would dwell with his brothers and raise livestock or farm the land his father had moved them to. Then one day his brothers threw him in a hole to get rid of him. He ended up being sold into slavery and ultimately locked in prison in Egypt for a crime he didn’t commit. Just when it seemed his life was over, God allowed him to explain dreams and suddenly he rose to become second in command in all of Egypt. In due time his family sought his help when they were starving to death and he not only helped them but together with the other children of Israel grew to become a multitude of God’s people .
Moses’ life certainly did not go as he had planned. Banished to the wilderness to tend goats in order to escape certain death, he assumed he would live out his days a lowly shepherd. One day a bush started burning and the rest is history. Moses rose up to lead God’s people out of the captivity of Egypt to the Promised Land. Unfortunately, the people hardened their hearts and Moses had to watch them die in the wilderness and a new generation who loved and obeyed God rose up to enter the Promised Land.
David assumed he would tend his father’s sheep and fight bears his whole life. Instead, the prophet Samuel told his father that David was to be ordained as the next king of Israel. For the next many years David fled and hid from Saul who was intent on killing him who was to inherit his crown. In due time David did assume the role of king and enjoy the fruits of his position but only after many years of living life on the run and fearing for his life.
Many of the prophets were ordinary men who had no idea they would be called to speak on God’s behalf to the people and to kings. One of those prophets, Nathan, had to confront the mighty King David and look into his eyes and tell him You are the man when David had messed everything up with Uriah so he could have Bathsheba. Isaiah had to tell Hezekiah to get his house in order for he was going to die, Jeremiah had to tell the king that he was all wrong and as a result, he had to spend time in a hole full of dung for it. Other prophets were tortured and killed for daring to boldly speak God’s Word. Many of these men were just ordinary guys whom God called to do His work.
The 12 disciples were busy living their lives and doing their jobs when Jesus called them to drop everything and follow Him. These men left their livelihood, family and friends to be with the Son of God. Most of these men ended up giving their lives as martyrs because of what they taught and the gospel of Jesus Christ they boldly proclaimed.
Saul was a Roman citizen and member of the Sanhedrin. He was a Pharisee and a zealot in his mission to persecute and kill Christians. Jesus Himself confronted Saul on the road to Damascus, gave him a new name Paul and told him that from now on he would be serving Him and taking the Gospel to the Gentiles. Talk about a radical change in plans!
Peter was a good and devout Jewish man who never defiled himself in any way. God appeared to him in a dream and told him to go to the household of Cornelius (a Gentile) and help him and his family get born again. Reluctantly Peter went and in so doing the door to Gentiles was finally opened to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ which ended up being Paul’s ministry.
I think you get the picture here. Time and again men and women who thought they had life figured out were touched by God and soon they were doing things they never thought of doing or in many cases wanted to do. These people ended up putting their lives on the line to serve God instead of themselves. Those men and women who accepted God’s call in their lives received His blessings during this life, and more importantly, for all eternity. Those who could not rise up to God’s calling were left to wonder what could have been and would have been if they would have only taken the leap of faith and left behind the safety of their own devices and doings.
until next time
© www.faithministries.com.au 2016 All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968, no part of this Article may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, communicated or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written permission.