A word in time
BY CAPTAIN BARBARA SLOAN –
“And he said to them, “Follow me…” -Matthew 4:19
Almost seven years ago I faced a decision. Should I quit my job at a CPA firm to join my husband’s call to full-time ministry? On one side, a regular income and work I enjoyed. On the other, challenge, risk, the excitement of pioneering together.
“When I have a choice to make,” our corps officer advised me, “I simply go to the Bible.”
Simple for him, maybe–he knew the Bible inside out. But where would I begin looking? I remembered a friend telling about getting a Bible verse over the phone when she had to make a choice. “The caller couldn’t possibly have known my situation, yet the verse he gave me was my answer!”
No such phone call came for me.
“I pray for guidance,” another friend said, “then just let the Bible fall open.” I tried this. I closed my eyes, put my finger on a page and read “Ozias, begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz…” (Matt.1:9)
When I laughed about this with a friend she nodded, “That time my husband was so ill, I did just what you did, opened the Bible at random looking for guidance.” Instead, she found herself staring at the blank page between the Old Testament and the New. ‘The only words there were ‘The Gospel.'”
We started to laugh again–then realized what she’d said. The Gospel! That’s where she and I and every Christian would find direction. Asking God for a specific verse for a particular situation, after all, is asking for a miniature miracle–wonderful when it happens, but not something I can summon on demand.
My husband and I began a daily reading of the Gospels in terms of my decision, finding our fears, our egos, our hidden motives exposed to the light of Jesus’ life and teaching.
In the end, I quit my job, but what came out of that time was something more important: a pattern of bringing every decision before him who followed his father’s will without fail.