It’s in Christ that we find out who we are, and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.” Ephesians 1:11 (msg)
There is one thing we can be absolutely sure of, and that is, God has a wonderful plan and design for our lives. That plan was put into effect long before we had ever heard of Jesus Christ. This plan is packed with love and peace, jammed packed with adventure, joy and total fulfillment. This plan is glorious in its design and everything in our lives must work to accomplish God’s fixed intent.
Many will seek out God’s will, while others through their own desire will go another direction. God will allow us to seek our own will. God will even allow us to make harmful decisions that will put us on a fast track going in the wrong direction. The consequences of wrong choices can be painful and even permanent. No matter how far you run or how hard you try to have it “your way,” God is a patient God. You will never go so far that his love will not reach you.
I recall as a teenager packing my car and announcing to my parents, “I want to go live my life.” My mother said to me: “You can run as fast as you want and as far as you please, but you will never go so far that my love and prayers will not find you.” Thank God for my praying, loving mother and father… or I would not be here today.
God will not withhold any resource to fulfill his destiny for your life, but he will not violate your right to choose. “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.” Psalms 138:8 (NIV)
When I was a teenager, I had an opportunity to work for a missionary group in Mexico. This was a group of pilots who had small planes. They would fly into remote areas of Mexico and drop Christian literature over these small villages. Many of these villages were in mountainous areas and places where no automobiles would go. They were called “Air Mail From God.”
A wonderful man that attended my father’s church actually rebuilt a small two-seated plane. This plane as I recall, was a Stinson L5. It was a plane that was used during WWII as a reconnaissance over enemy territory. My job was to sit in the back seat and throw out the literature over the villages. It really was a sight to see. It would remind you of those big ticker tape parades you see in New York. The people in the village would run out into the streets and wave at us. They were always so excited to see us.
We would then land the plane in a field or any place where the ground looked flat. After landing, we would stay in the village for a few days and have a soul-winning crusade. Other pilots would follow and the people wee just wonderful and so grateful for us spending some time with them. I would sing the song: “How Great Thou Art.” Even though I could not speak Spanish, that song caught on very quickly. Just to re-live it now is so inspiring. The people would raise their hands and soon were singing along with me in their own beautiful Spanish language.
As a teenager, this was very thrilling to me, and it was also very dangerous. But when you are a boy, you don’t give much time thinking about the risk. It was just fun! This plane did not have a starter. I would stand in front of the plane and spin the prop. You might have to do this several times before the engine would cough and sputter and finally start. It was all part of my job.
I recall the little compass on the dash of the plane. It wasn’t very reliable. We took off out of macadam Field in Fort Worth, Texas and our destination for the first day was Laredo, Texas. Another challenge was to stay warm in that little plane. Each time we stopped, I would build a fire and throw two bricks into it. Then I would wrap them in a blanket and that kept my feet from going numb, because the temperature was so cold flying in that high of altitude.
On three or four occasions, the carburetor would freeze over and the engine would stop. While that was exciting to me, it wasn’t to the pilot. I recall him praying loudly and yelling to me to look for a place that was flat so that we could set the plane down. On one such emergency landing, we took some branches out of the top of a tree.
How many of us even now as look back and recall many “close calls” in our lives. We walked away from that near disaster and wonder why we survived. There is no doubt that these “close calls” are more than “luck” as the unbeliever might conclude. Nor can we be so flippant that it just “wasn’t our day to die. God’s purpose for our lives must never be taken lightly. Every “tap on the shoulder,” every “close call,” every “wake up call,” that you have “dismissed” so easily, was very likely God’s attempt to get you back on course.
“Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any many will open the door, I will come in.” Revelations ??? Each time we neglect his appeal, each time we ignore his knock at the door of our hearts, we will continue on the path of our own choosing, not his.
Back to my story… On my preparation for my second missionary journey to Mexico, I recall vividly my mother’s concern. While I was putting my duffle bag into my car, my mother put her arms around me and was praying for my safety. She abruptly stopped in the middle of her prayer and said to me: “Dwight, I don’t have peace in my spirit about this trip.” She continued her prayer with these words: “Lord, protect Dwight and block anything that might prevent your will for his life being fulfilled.” I kissed my mother goodbye and she stood there waving at me and blowing me a kiss. Oh, how I thank God, for my precious praying mother and father! Without their love, patience and prayers, this story would have a much different ending.
I stowed my duffle bag in the plane. Just as we were making final flight checks, a pastor walked over to me along with the pilot and explained to me something that would alter the course of my life. He said to me that the Lord instructed him to go on this trip and would I mind if he could take my place. I respected his request and went back home. A few days later, their plane crashed and both of them were killed.
I’ve thought about that tragedy many times. Why did God spare my life? Both of those men loved God and were committed to his will for their lives. Other events that were “close calls” have happened in my life, and yet, because God’s purpose for my life, is to be fulfilled. “… With your own powerful arm you keep me safe.” Psalms 138:7 (CEV)
I am deeply humbled and most unworthy for our God’s mercy. Let me repeat it again, God has a plan for your life. His design, his purposes and his will must become the top priority for each of us. Anything that is hindering his purpose must be dealt with and removed with all speed. Seek the Lord, ask the Holy Sprit to go into the secret places of our hearts and cleanse us. Only God’s destiny for your life will allow you to really enjoy the journey.