Turning Points Magazine & Devotional

May 2021 Issue

Questioning Your Faith

From the Current Issue

Who Knew? Looking Back at a Path of Faith

Online Exclusive: From This Point Forward

Who Knew? Looking Back at a Path of Faith

Even as a child, Cathy had an entrepreneurial streak. He (yes, he) opened a Coca-Cola stand when he was eight and soon began selling magazines door to door. He started a paper route and won awards for recruiting customers. As a young man he returned from World War II to join his brother, Ben, in opening an Atlanta eatery. This venture got off to a rough start, however. The restaurant took in less than sixty dollars on its first day. Two years later Ben was killed in a plane crash. Cathy tried to open a second restaurant, but it burned down. He tried to establish a fast-food diner, but customers didn’t warm to the idea. But Cathy was a Christian, a Sunday school teacher, a man of faith, and not one to give up. He spent his spare time in the kitchen of the boarding house where his mother lived, working on cooking techniques and menu ideas. One day he invented a way of cooking a piece of chicken in a pressure fryer as quickly as grilling a hamburger. He gave it a name—“Chick-fil-A.” 

Truett Cathy opened a Chick-fil-A counter at Greenbriar Mall in Atlanta and one thing led to another. Today Chick-fil-A has more than 1,850 restaurants in 41 states; and as you probably know, they all close on Sunday for the Lord’s Day.

We have a calling on our lives, and the Lord knows how He wants to use us.

When Mr. Cathy started serving meals and creating sandwiches, who knew it would become a $5 billion business? He passed at the age of 93, but his enterprises have outlived him. “We live in a changing world,” he said, “but we need to be reminded that the important things have not changed, and the important things will not change if we keep our priorities in proper order.”1

Cathy knew that in a changing world we have an unchangeable God and an unchanging message. We have a calling on our lives, and the Lord knows how He wants to use us.  Psalm 139:16 says, “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in Your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed” (New Living Translation).

When our priority is stepping out by faith in God’s will, who knows what will happen? God’s plans are larger than our vision. As we trust Him, things have a way of growing beyond our wildest imagination and dreams. We may not see it all in our lifetimes, but when God calls us to do something, there’s a ripple effect that multiplies the results. In eternity, we’ll look back on the pathway with amazement at what God has done with our faith and faithfulness.

There's no way we can foretell the future, but even now most of us can look back at the route we've traveled and see something of how God has directed our steps and blessed our efforts.

Perhaps we grow weary along the way, but we know we have to walk by faith, putting one foot in front of the other. The further forward we go, the greater our wonder at looking back and seeing God at work.

When our priority is stepping out by faith in God's will, who knows what will happen?

When I began Turning Point more than thirty years ago, I had no idea God would bless us to be a worldwide television and radio ministry, with a magazine, with books and Bibles and the programming we have. I only knew God wanted me to step out in faith. Looking back, I can see how we got here; but along the way (and often times) I had no idea what was ahead. It hasn’t been easy, but I praise God for doing exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or imagine—and all for His glory. 

Who knew?

The Lord wants to use you too, exceedingly abundantly above all you could ask or imagine. He has plans and purposes for you that eclipse your dreams. Most of the results won’t be immediately apparent—that’s why it’s a pathway of faith. But as we serve Him day by day, He multiplies our efforts soul by soul. 

Faith Attempts an Improbable Path

When we step out by faith, we are stepping onto an improbable path. Think of Noah who built a boat; of Abraham who left Ur of the Chaldees; of Moses who raised his rod over the waters; of Jeremiah who bought a lot in a warzone; of Peter and Andrew who left their fishing boats to follow One claiming to be Messiah; of Barnabas who sold his land and gave away the money. There were dark days for all these souls, perhaps moments when they wondered if it was worth it. But by faith they persevered, and their faith paid off.

Serving the Lord is not a stress-free enterprise, and sometimes we may wonder if the blessings outweigh the risks. But consider Allen Francis Gardiner, a nineteenth-century officer in the British Royal Navy whose voyages left him burdened for missions. On July 4, 1844, Gardiner established an organization called the Patagonian Missionary Society to reach remote tribes on the southern end of South America. He wrote, “While God gives me strength, failure will not daunt me.”

Gardiner needed all the resolve he could muster, for his efforts failed time after time. He finally recruited six coworkers to go with him, but all seven men eventually died on Picton Island. Gardiner, the last to die, dated his final journal entry September 5, 1851: “Good and marvelous are the loving kindnesses of my gracious God unto me. He has preserved me hitherto and for four days, although without bodily food, without any feelings of hunger or thirst.”

Captain Gardiner died without seeing a single soul saved among those for whom he was burdened, but his efforts were rewarded in God’s timing. His life and story inflamed British Christians, and the missionary organization he established became known as South American Missionary Society (now SAMS), which has been sending missionaries and saving souls for more than 150 years.

Who knew? Not until heaven could Captain Gardiner look back on the pathway of faith and make sense of it, but nothing was wasted. Nothing was in vain. 

Faith Achieves an Impossible Result

That’s because faith achieves an impossible result. Have you noticed how the New Testament uses the words “possible” and “impossible.” It’s an interesting study. Jesus said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you” (Matthew 17:20).

Luke 1:37 says, “For with God nothing will be impossible.” Luke 18:27 adds, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”

This doesn’t mean that everything we ask represents the plan of God. We have to pray according to His will. Consider the poignant words of Jesus in Mark14:36, when He prayed, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”

When we step out onto the path of faith we are saying, “Lord, all things are possible for You, but may whatever happens represent Your will, not mine.” With that attitude, there’s no limit to what God can do. As Hebrews 11:6 puts it: “Without faith it is impossible to please Him, for He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Faith has a way of achieving impossible results.

Faith Attains an Imperishable Crown

At the end of the process, faith also attains an imperishable crown. In the last days of his life as he looked back on the pathway of faith, the apostle Paul said, “I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day” (2 Timothy 4:7-8).

Perhaps you have an opportunity to launch a project, fulfill a desire, attempt a task, or take the next step in a venture. Is there a project you should tackle? A ministry you should begin? A dream you should pursue? A need you should meet? A mile you should travel? It’s surprising where God can take you and what He can do when we step out and live a life of faith.

Faith attempts an improbable path, achieves an impossible result, and attains an imperishable crown. So don’t be anxious or fearful. Pray about it and don’t be afraid to take the next step. One day on earth or in heaven, you’ll look back and say: “Who knew?”

 

1http://www.truettcathy.com/about.asp.

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