Connecting the Dots

When I was a bachelor level student I was accumulating courses in history to satisfy my requirement to have a minor.  I had enough credits in Christian studies to amount to both a major and a minor; but I needed a minor in a different area of study.  English was not on my radar.  I was in my final English required course and was already celebrating.  As it so happened, I ended out in Dr. Pinson’s course on the last few centuries of English literature; and my master plan fell to pieces.  Dr. Pinson was great!  He inspired me and I fell in love with literature.  So I minored in English.

A few years later, our children were babies and the church where I was pastor was marginally able to support me without income from another source.  The Tennessee Baptist Convention was that source for my first couple years at Fairview Baptist Church; but when that grant ran its course, it was time for me to find some additional income.  The Dyersburg paper ran an add for someone to teach remedial writing to entering college students who tested at grade school levels in writing.  Since these were remedial courses the necessary credential for this position was a college minor in English as part of a Bachelor of Arts Degree.

I applied and got the opportunity to teach remedial English to prisoners in the Dyersburg State Community College Lake County Extension Center.  Before class started they signed me up to teach Speech since I had 18 hours of communication in my Master of Divinity degree.  I ended out teaching ethics, philosophy, and world religions at the prison before they closed that extension center.  I then moved to the main campus to teach Speech and World Religions for a total of 13 years as an adjunct professor teaching on average five classes a year.  I saw this as God’s provision to support my ministry and when that was no longer necessary, as an outlet to minister to college students.  And it was; but God had more in mind.  I ended out completing an EDD and training ministers in higher education for almost twelve years as a full professor and administrator.  

Looking back I see the providence of God at work in shattering part of my master plan.  God has a way of doing that for us.  Sometimes we are totally blind to the implications of minor choices along the way in our lives; and God’s master plan is at work in the background.  We are blind to how God is caring for us long years in advance by putting the pieces in place to provide the necessary credentials or experience to serve in circumstances we could never have anticipated.  He is getting us ready to do something surprisingly new.  And when this happens it will be in hindsight that we will see how all the little dots are connected. 

I have discovered that God uses our interests to invade our present time so that our futures flourish upon richly prepared soil.  Now I have the pleasure of clear hindsight.  God has been working all things together for good to accomplish His purposes — yes, to accomplish HIS purposes (Romans 8:28).  All that has been poured into my life — every experience — has prepared me to do what I am doing today and what I am doing today — well, God is at work in that, too.  Yes, I minister; I pastor; I listen and share from my pilgrimage to anyone who will ask, and I am starting to do a little writing. Most important though, my studies, experiences, and following my interests have prepared me for the rich fellowship I have with Jesus.  That developing fellowship will be the precursor of the first day of my life in Heaven where the journey will continue.  

Stephen Williams

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