Ready for God’s Timetable
We often ask ourselves how, when, and even where we can witness for the Lord, and at what time. We fail to realize that in most cases the Lord has worked out situations even years in advance, giving us an opportunity to tell others about His love. The lesson I have learned from this is that we must be ready at all times. Then, as we see His plan unfold before our very eyes, we stand in wonder.
After my family and I returned from 20 years of mission work in Africa, we came home to put our children through college in the States. But having spent so many years with the “have-nots,” it was hard to live with the “haves.” So after a few years as the director of development at the Andrews University radio station, I felt that God was calling me to work for the people of the poorest country in the western hemisphere, Haiti.
Using my gift of speaking French and my experience in dealing with difficult circumstances, I began by teaching English as a second language. This gave me a chance to witness. Once I was able to organize a trip to Disney World in Florida, for a group of my students. One of those who went was an outstanding student named Maxo Sinai. The students had a fantastic time, as you can imagine. They found many new things that they had never seen before or imagined existed. Of course they wanted to stay, but I made it clear they didn’t have the proper papers and made sure they all got home.
Maxo, however, made arrangements to return to Miami a year or so later. We kept in touch with each other for some time. He made wonderful progress and eventually married an American girl. A few years later I was returning to my mission in Haiti from my home in Berrien Springs. Arriving in Miami, I learned that for some political reason the airport in Port-au-Prince was closed. Not wanting to spend the money to return to Michigan, I decided to wait things out in Miami. I looked in my little pocket address book to see if I could find Maxo, but alas, his phone number was not there.
At that time my son Max and his family were living in Orlando, so I decided to drive up to visit them while I waited for the airport in Haiti to open. At Budget Rent-a-Car I filled out the usual papers and went to the garage to find the car they had selected for me. As I was searching for my car a voice behind me said, “Can I help you?” There stood Maxo Sinai. We were both deeply impressed that it was more than a mere coincidence. I felt it was God’s plan. From that time on I subscribed to Signs of the Times for Maxo and his family.
Just before Christmas in 1996 I was on my way to Haiti again. Due to a late plane, I had to stay in a hotel overnight, so I contacted Maxo and invited him and his wife to come visit me. In the course of our conversation I asked Maxo what progress he was making in his spiritual life, and he replied, “I’ve been reading Signs magazine throughout the years, and we are taking Bible studies with a Haitian-American Adventist family.”
To think that God Himself had orchestrated all this! Nothing is impossible for God, and time is nothing to Him. God will give us opportunities to witness, and He has already set up the timetable. We only have to accept the opportunities He puts in our path.
“The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps” (Proverbs 16:9, NASB).
By Max Church
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