Last night our Bible Study looked at Paul’s testimony in the second half of Galatians, chapter one. In that place, Paul says that the Lord had “set me apart from birth.” What an incredible perception! In spite of all the “negatives” in Saul’s life up to the point of his conversion, he understood that everything had been part of the Father’s preparation of his heart, mind, and will to be “the apostle to the Gentiles”.
Tim Keller, writing on this passage, says, “This is a major theme in the Bible. Joseph told his brothers that their very effort to avoid Joseph as God’s chosen deliverer (Gen. 37:5-8, 19-20) had actually been the means to establish Joseph as such (Gen. 50:19-20). The apostles insisted that the people who tried to oppose Jesus only served to further God’s purposes (Acts 2:23; 4:27-28). All opposition to God will be seen in the end as having done nothing but confirm and further God’s design.”
So too, the Father has been preparing and shaping Shore Presbyterian through what appear to us to have been failures and setbacks. We have held events to which no one came. We have lost folk we could not afford to lose. We have spent resources in ways that seem to have born no fruit. We have pursued strategies that appear to have led us into dead ends. Yet, do we not know that God the Spirit has been at work to establish a mindset, build a personality, and create the kind of trust that will, in the end, establish the sort of church that His heart seeks on the Shore?
The Lord Jesus has set His love on this little congregation. He will do far above all that we could ever ask or think. “For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession… It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the LORD set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the LORD loves you…” Deuteronomy 7:6-8