Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him. Ephesians 1:9-10
We have been back in the US for a few days. It takes a few nights to readjust to American time, and of course, every year it feels like we leave in the summer and return in the winter! Between coming back to the whirlwind of business and family, I have thought about this verse in Ephesians 1—the fullness of times. God’s will is sometimes a mystery. His pleasure and purpose are always carried out. But He gathers together things in both heaven and earth, and suddenly I realize I am walking in one of God’s “fullness of times.”
It was one of those times in Uganda this year. We began seven years ago with a vision of preaching and teaching to church leaders in a rented tin building, where we distributed Bibles and bicycles, and gave a few dozen children food and shelter. Seven years later, we are working to be instruments of God’s favor in establishing a bustling orphanage and school, businesses that will support five churches, breaking new ground in a neighborhood where many have never heard Jesus’ name, and enabling a television ministry that will reach six nations. We have felt the pleasure and purpose of God as we have built on the growing ministries where God’s pleasure and purpose are now apparent—a magnificent pig farm that supports a church, miracle ownership and renovation of a church in the poorest neighborhood in Kampala, a new church plant where people responded immediately to the gospel, sewing shops where people are trained and new jobs created, seven buildings with teachers and joyful children on a hillside of picturesque rolling hills and cisterns, and a leap into television ministry for a faithful Bishop of Kampala. Those are just the little pieces of the mystery that has become clearer than ever before this year. God’s favor, His kindness, His abundance, His lavish grace—Spirit led believers are rising up in Uganda and the whole nation is prospering because of God’s people. Such success always seems fragile to me as I look around and see clearly that there is much opposition. But it is not fragile at all. It is the good pleasure and purpose of God to lead His people into fullness of times when all the circumstances of seven years of sacrifice and faithful work begin to pour out fruit. A growing season is not so long. We will reap if we do not grow weary—and I know from experience this year that God’s promise is true! As I have enjoyed the fresh fruits and vegetables from the lush gardens and fertile soil of this country, so I have enjoyed the fruits that come in one of God’s “fullness of times.” How beautiful it is to walk in the mystery of His will!!!!