“God’s timing is perfect”

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“God’s timing is perfect”

by Lt. Colonel Marlene Chase and Captain Curtiss A. Hartley – 

It’s trite, but God does work in mysterious ways. I’m convinced that there are many mysteries that we will never understand this side of heaven. One of those little mysteries in my own life is his timing.

Yeah, we all know (because it’s a matter of faith) that God’s timing is always perfect, all of the time. So why should I be shocked when I think I’ve got my life relatively settled, and all of a sudden God throws a huge monkey wrench into the mix?

Let me back up a bit—okay, about 40 years or so. I grew up in The Salvation Army, the son of officers. I knew from early on that God had a plan for my life, and that plan was to become a Salvation Army officer, too. As I grew up, I discovered a love for writing, music, photography, and electronic gizmos. So while I knew I would become an officer, I honed those interests as serious hobbies. I found ways to incorporate them into my service as an officer.

After 13 years as corps officers, God closed doors for my family, and my wife and I stepped out into a wilderness of “civilian life.” I went back to complete a college degree, and eventually ended up as a city editor of a small community newspaper.

It was 10 years since we had left officership, and over those years, we would sometimes get the inevitable question: “Will you ever return to officership?” Our sincere answer was, “We don’t see that happening, but if God opens a door, we’ll certainly walk through.” We had a house, two cars, two children and a dog. Life was good. It was settled.

We thought.

Now back to that monkey wrench. Suddenly, God threw open another door—one that was completely unexpected! And for three months my wife and I prayed, talked, cried, put out fleeces, and generally drove our loving Lord nearly to distraction I’m sure, as we tried to understand—why? Why now? I don’t have any answers, other than God’s mysterious ways.

I’m reminded that God says if we delight ourselves in him, he will give us the desires of our hearts. I’ve always preached that the verse does not mean “tricking” God into giving us what we want by pretend praise and worship. Instead, it means that by truly worshiping him, honoring him with our lives, we find that we wholly desire those things that he wants for us. We are delighted in him and his mysterious work in our lives.

So God’s called me back from the wilderness, back into service as a Salvation Army officer, and by golly if I’m not completely delighted to be doing just what he wants me to be doing.
—Captain Curtiss Hartley

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