The year was 1920. The scene was the examining board for selecting missionaries.
Standing before the board was a young man named Oswald Smith. One dream dominated his
heart. He wanted to be a missionary. Over and over again, he prayed, "Lord, I want to
go as a missionary for you. Open a door of service for me." Now, at last, his prayer
would be answered. When the examination was over, the board turned Oswald Smith down. He
did not meet their qualifications. He failed the test. Oswald Smith had set his direction,
but now life gave him a detour. What would he do? As Oswald Smith prayed, God planted
another idea in his heart. If he could not go as a missionary, he would build a church
which could send out missionaries. And that is what he did. Oswald Smith pastored The
People's Church in Toronto, Canada, which sent out more missionaries than any other church
at that time. Oswald Smith brought God into the situation, and God transformed his detour
into a main thoroughfare of service.
Brian L. Harbour, Rising Above the Crowd.
STATISTICS AND STUFF
Detours, when we get off the main road, can be frustrating and time consuming. Yet in
the spiritual life, God seems to allow us to be detoured. One of the longest detours of
all time happened to the children of Israel in the wilderness. What should have taken them
eleven days to enter the Promised Land turned into a forty-year detour in the desert. That
detour was due to their deplorable lack of faith in God's conquering power. On the other
hand, there were those who may have thought they were being detoured by God, but who later
found they were on God's perfect road of blessing all along. Consider: 1) Moses was
detoured into submission. Those forty years in the wilderness tending sheep were not a
waste, but actually a training ground for tending Israel later on. The desert experience
took all the trust in the arm of flesh out of Moses (Exodus 3,4). 2) Paul was detoured
into learning. "I went into Arabia...then after three years I went up to
Jerusalem" (Galatians 1:17,18). Those years were good for Paul, so that he might
learn of Christ and be trained for service. 3) Philip was detoured from many, to one. He
went from winning multitudes, to winning one man, the Etheopian eunuch; from a great
revival to a singular witnessing experience. This story shows the Lord's estimation of the
value of one soul. 4) Enoch and Elijah were detoured into heaven (Genesis 5:24, II Kings
2:11). Is today the day we will experience the same?
The Daily Bread.