Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Leaning On The Everlasting Arms"1 (Lyrics)
Romans 8:28 – And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (NASB)
This has always been one of my favourite Bible verses. However, Paul says nothing about when all things will work together for good.
I recently received an e-mail that emphasized this fact for me. It read, "It's wonderful how God weaves together threads — sometimes over a period of many years — that form a cord to draw us to Him."
To illustrate how God's timing is far beyond our comprehension, I will go back to 1893. In a devotional published on February 23, 2018, I told the story of my grandmother being left a 26-year-old widow with four young children when her doctor husband died suddenly.
Her four-year-old daughter, Maude, grew up to love God, and in 1917, she and her husband assisted in the commencement of The Salvation Army work in China. They had a baby girl with them, my cousin, Dorothy — nicknamed "Dody".
They travelled to Peking (now Beijing) and opened a home for young children. The first resident was a young boy, Hung-Shun Ying.
After many years of growth, Christian organizations were forced underground by the rise of the Communist Party. But God isn't bound by our time or man's restrictions.
When my son visited Beijing in 1980, he located Major Ying, who was the young homeless boy housed in 1917, and was then a leader in The Salvation Army in China and operating underground. When Bruce explained that his dad's cousin was the little baby nicknamed "Dody", Major Ying was thrilled and insisted on giving Chinese tea for transfer to "Dody".
Forward another decade for the final chapter in this story of God's timing.
Periodically, The Salvation Army holds an international Congress. In 1990, one was held where thousands from around the world gathered in London, England. I was in London on a business trip and arranged for my retired cousin to come from her south-shore home and stay with us at a hotel close to the stadium.
At this Congress, Major Ying was to be given the "Order of the Founder" award, recognizing distinguished service, and to receive it, he was flown from Beijing. My cousin and I met privately with him, and at first, he didn't recognize us. But when Dorothy said that she was "Dody", he became very excited with recognition of the baby girl of 1917. He then told her that ten years before, her relative had visited him in Beijing. She explained that I was his father, and his excitement continued.
After receiving his award that afternoon, in front of thousands, he quietly sang the words of Edward Joy (1871-1949):
- All my days and all my hours,
All my will and all my powers,
All the passion of my soul,
Not a fragment but the whole
Shall be Thine, dear Lord.
1893 to 1990 is a long time to us, but not to God. He is certainly not bound by time as we are.
For you and me, the challenge is to love God. He, in turn, works all things for good.
Prayer: Dear Father, help us to remember that our challenge is to love You with all our powers and to trust You to work things out for good, regardless of the time. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.