My thirtieth birthday was a traumatic affair in a spiritual sense. I knew I was then old – or so I thought! For years I had been waiting on the Lord for whatever it was He wanted my life’s calling to be and when I reached thirty I was convinced that I had missed it and God had passed me by.
Youth is naturally impatient and fails to understand that God is not in a hurry and that He takes His time to hone and polish the man or woman who wants to serve Him. At the age of thirty I couldn’t see all the rough edges that God needed to polish and the experience that he wanted me to have. I can see now that God couldn’t release me into my calling until I had got a few more years of testing and training under my spiritual belt.
A wise and elderly saint of God confided in me at about that time that, in his experience, about forty was the age when God’s primary purposes would begin to be fulfilled. I had a few years to wait – until, actually, I was forty-three and we walked through the doors of Ellel Grange for the first time to begin the work of Ellel Ministries all those years ago in 1986.
Which brings me to the initial prompting for this blog – Ellel Ministries will be thirty years old on the 31st October! Yes, it was on Halloween night that God raised up a ministry that would have a strategic role in pulling down the strongholds of Satan in people’s lives. And in a few days’ time about ninety leaders of the work from all over the world will be gathering at Ellel Grange for our leaders conference.
It is almost beyond belief to realise what God has done in such a short period of time. And now we are preparing ourselves for whatever He has next in store for us. We have a deep sense that in many ways the first thirty years have been a preparation. During the conference we will be taking time out to pray into the ongoing vision for the work and we would really value your prayerful support at this time as well.
No-one needs telling that the world is in a serious mess and that the farther that people (and governments) transgress from the ways of the Lord, the messier people’s lives will become. God has been preparing us over the years to be ready for when people in their hundreds come knocking on the door, crying out to God for the only form of healing that can put their lives back on track.
These are certainly challenging days and while we will be taking a short time out to have a time of thanksgiving and celebration on the 31st, the main thrust of our leaders’ conference is equipping the team who are being Prepared for a Purpose.
There are a couple of brilliant chapters in the biography of Charles Cowman (husband of Lettie Cowman, who wrote the famous devotional book Streams in the desert) about how God orders our steps and prepares us for His purposes. It’s been a huge encouragement (and challenge) to me over the years. It’s a book worth reading – get it if you can. Charles Cowman – Missionary Warrior, by Lettie Cowman. God still has a work for each one of us to do. You are never too old – whether you are thirty or eighty – to be thinking ahead and praying into the purposes of God for the rest of your life!