You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
Recently I have wondered why God has taken so long to call me to discipleship. Why has he left it until I am in my dotage before asking me to write a blog? Why not call me at a younger age or indeed, choose someone younger. But perhaps these are the wrong questions. Should I not rather be asking, why have I not responded to God’s invitation to walk with Him, to work for Him earlier in my life?
At church last Sunday a lady welcomed me using my Christian name. As this was only my second visit I asked how she knew it. “I like to know what’s going on and who’s who, young man” she said – not unkindly, I hasten to add. Now it is a very long time since anyone has called me “young man” but then she did admit to being 95 so maybe I did seem young to her. However, her words reminded me that God’s timescale not ours and that God is a patient God. After all, how old was Abraham’s wife when she bore Isaac? Again, how long had Simeon waited when Mary and Joseph presented Jesus to him at the Temple? God invites us to join Him and waits for us to take up that offer. God does not exert pressure or make demands. God waits patiently for our response to His invitation and when we accept welcomes us with open arms and walks with us on the journey.
But, do you remember Jesus’ parable of the ten virgins recounted in Matthew 25? Five were prepared to greet the bridegroom with lamps and oil even at the late hour of his coming, whilst the others were not ready and so missed joining the celebrations. Indeed the final verse of the parable sounds a warning: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour” Matthew 25:13. Now since none of us knows how long our lives will be on this earth we like the virgins in the parable, need to be prepared to listen for, and to respond to, His call whenever it comes. As Jesus said: ‘Blessed are your eyes because they see and your ears because they hear’. Matthew 13:16. Yet if we don’t keep our eyes and our ears open then we will never know what God is calling us to do for Him. More importantly we will not know God.
The God within us shows us that we all have a purpose and in God’s own time He will choose the man or woman He wants to carry out the task He has in mind for us, even though it may not be what we expect it to be. What we have to do is to keep our eyes and ears open so as not to miss God’s call and be ready to say, as the young Samuel did, ‘Speak Lord for thy servant heareth’ 1 Samuel 3:10 (KJV).
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time work for a number of years