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On your mark

What’s your mission?

“It is written in Isaiah the prophet: ‘I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way’ — ‘a voice of one calling in the desert, “Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.” ’ ” (Mark 1:2,3, NIV).

The late Philip Crouch, past president of Central Bible College, in his early years of ministry served with his wife, Hazel, at the Lillian Trasher Orphanage in Assiout, Egypt, during the very last years of Mama Lillian’s life.

Lillian Trasher had broken her engagement with Tom Jordan in North Carolina 10 days before the wedding as an act of obedience to the missionary call upon her life. Eight months later, she welcomed the first baby into her orphanage. Over the next 51 years, about 10,000 children were raised in her home; and since her death, probably another 10,000 children have called her orphanage their home.

Knowing that she had never married, I asked Philip Crouch if he had ever talked with Lillian about whether she regretted breaking her engagement to Tom.

He said, “Matter of fact, I did. About a year before she died, I was talking with her one day and put the question to her, ‘Do you ever regret not marrying Tom?’ She became very quiet, and finally said, ‘If I had married Tom, what would have happened to all these children?’ ”

We sometimes blithely think if we don’t do what the Lord wants us to do, there will be someone else to take our place. There was no one standing in line to take Lillian Trasher’s place — if she had not done what God wanted her to do, it would not have been done! And, there’s no one waiting in line to take your place either!

What is your mission in life?

John the Baptist stepped into the role cut out for him by the prophetic work of Isaiah. There was no one who could have taken his place either.

You may not have had a biblical prophet foretell your purpose on earth, but as God’s child you just as surely have a mission. You can say with David, “You have laid your hand upon me” (Psalm 139:5).

“It is written” is not only a phrase describing John; it is meant to objectively anchor you when you are driven by the subjective impulses of life. God’s written Word and the guidance of His Spirit will lead you always to effective service.

When we follow the Lord’s will in our own lives, like John, we will prepare the way for others.

And, sometimes we may not initially like where the Lord puts us. John’s posting was the desert — water was scarce, varieties of food limited, and air-conditioning nonexistent. But, it is in our difficult places we truly prepare the way of the Lord for others.

John was called to prepare the way of the Lord by making straight His paths. The imagery is of a road worker called to fill in the potholes, level the bumps and take out the winding curves in order to make a good highway for the King to travel on. All the work on the road makes no sense if the King is not coming.

Similarly, you are working on some section of the Lord’s highway in your life today. You have purpose and mission because the Lord is traveling on the segment of the road where you are.

GEORGE O. WOOD is general superintendent of the Assemblies of God.

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