When I was a senior in college, God called me to the pastorate. Almost overnight I knew that God had changed the direction of my life. I didn’t mind the new focus, but I was troubled by one aspect of it: I had been headed in another direction almost my entire life. I had been interested in radio from the time I was young. I used to build amateur radios and string antenna wire all over our house. And when I grew older, I got involved in radio production, working as a “dj” in college at an FM station. I then helped our college start its own Christian radio station. So I just assumed I would always be involved in some aspect of radio broadcasting as a career.
But I followed the Lord’s leading and went to seminary after college to prepare for the pastorate. After four years of seminary, I did further graduate work and then accepted a call to start a new church in Indiana. About halfway through my time at that church, radio reappeared “out of the blue.” I got a call from a local radio station asking if I’d like to host a live radio program. From that program grew another, and another, until ﬁnally, today, I am as involved in radio as I can possibly be. The program I host now is broadcast all over the world in several languages and can be heard in North America just about everywhere a radio is turned on. So, God said “No” to radio only for a while. I laugh sometimes when I think of my original radio “vision” and what God eventually did. God had a better plan—He always does.
Sometimes it’s difﬁcult to see at the moment what God is doing in our lives. That was true for John Newton when he experienced a crisis in 1754. As he sat having tea with his wife before leaving to captain a ship on a journey to Africa, he suddenly crumpled to the ﬂoor unconscious. It was later determined he had had an epileptic seizure. He resigned as captain of the ship and never went to sea again. He later found out that the new captain of that ship was killed when the slaves on board revolted and took over the ship. John Newton’s plans were changed, but his life was spared. After this incident, Newton’s wife, Mary, became ill. She hovered near death for nearly a year during which time Newton cared for her instead of working. When his money ran out, he took a job in Liverpool as a surveyor and reluctantly moved there, leaving Mary in the care of others. He believed he’d never see her alive again. Two months after settling in Liverpool, Mary made a miraculous recovery.
Through all these events, John Newton was learning that God’s hand was always directing him, causing everything to work together for his good. God’s providence was active in all areas of life, even the little things. His grace was sufﬁcient to meet every need and to show how, eventually, all the pieces of life ﬁt together (David Jeremiah. Captured by Grace, page 94).