We couldn’t help chuckling the other morning when our ‘Word for today’ devotional reading was titled. ‘Listen to Gods voice.’ We had been reading Hebrews for the last few days and read again the words of Isaiah in chapter three and four, “Today if you hear the voice of the Lord speaking to you harden not your heart.”
It was this scripture that lead Doug and I to make the biggest turn about in our lives. (see icecreams page 270) Now Bob Gass the Author of ‘Word for today’ was quoting another scripture which had also been a big part of our journey. “Your ears will hear a voice behind you saying this is the way walk in it.” The humour was because we had been reading these chapters independently of ‘Word for today” and now here they were again.
Bob Gass told the story of the Reverend J.Stuart Holden. In 1912 he was to sail to America to speak at the Christian Conservation congress held at Carnegie Hall. This would have opened a great opportunity for ministry to him. However, his wife became suddenly ill and he had to cancel and return his tickets. As we were listening to Bob (on our IPad) we knew what was coming next. Rev Holden was booked on the Titanic.
Later I looked the Rev Holden up on Google. I discovered that he was so disappointed and had cancelled their tickets just one day before they were to sail. Rev Holden was the Vicar of St Paul’s Church in Portman Square, London where he continued to minister for many years. He wrote books and is the author of a number of hymns. Prominently identified with the Keswick Convention and the China Inland Mission he travelled extensively to preach in North America.
The devotional then went on to mention St Paul and how he had planned to visit Spain. However, his plans were thwarted and he ended up in Rome where, under house arrest he wrote the life changing Epistles that have been read by millions down through the years.
I have heard stories over the years from folks who have been detoured, held up or even seen their plans come to nothing, only to find later that something better was ahead of them. Then again, some of us may never know why we get redirected or why circumstances stop us from going a certain route. But, one thing we can be sure of is that God sees the bigger picture. So, in that case, why do we complain? Sometimes it’s better to ‘miss the boat’ even if we don’t know why.
Rev J Stuart Holden