A DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT by Marilyn Bennett
When I was a teenager, I gave my life to Christ at a Billy Graham crusade. I was already a baptized Christian, but I wanted Jesus as my Lord as well as my Savior. I had no idea what this meant, but I was willing to follow wherever Jesus led.
As I look back, I can now see how God was preparing me to serve Him.
I attended Westmont College in Santa Barbara. During that time, I served God by teaching “Sidewalk Sunday School” on Sundays and working with neurologically handicapped children during the week. I also had a part time job in the library where I could satisfy my love for learning.
My best friend introduced me to my first husband and we served the Lord faithfully at Twin Lakes Baptist Church in Santa Cruz where I taught in a Christian school and connected with a Christian publishing company and wrote curriculum.
During those years our three children were born and I became a private tutor and conducted workshops to train teachers. When our children were teenagers, I taught sixth grade in a public school and also developed school curriculum for the state.
Then, I suddenly I caught something that left me partially bedridden for the next eight years. The doctors said there was no cure, but I believe the Lord healed me. It was during this time that I developed a deep prayer life with Jesus.
After my husband left, I counseled and housed at risk teenagers. I was also hired as a mentor for teachers by my school district and I led the process for the adoption of new curriculum across the district. I was encouraged to get a doctorate in curriculum, but the Lord instead led me to attend Seminary, a desire which God had placed inside me for years.
God put a man in my life who encouraged me to attend Seminary. Later, as my husband, he supported my serving as a pastor of an inner-city church and my choice to get a doctorate in theology.
As we age, we have time to reflect. I had intended to teach second grade in the same town for thirty years and then retire. God, however, had a different plan, moving me constantly and developing in me a wide range of skills which included serving Him in the most dangerous parts of the city while protecting me from harm.
Through all the difficulties in my life, Jesus stayed close to me. He is my joy.
Looking back, I would have never believed that I would become a friend of the President of the American Baptist denomination that I belonged to or that God would use me to lead and mentor pastors and ministry leaders.
I would never have chosen this path for my life, but I praise God for all of it.
In your life journey nothing in your life was by chance. Praise God for everything. Ask God to help you use what He has given you, even the hard experiences and He will.
Continue to be open to how God will work in you and say yes to the what he puts before you because when you say “No” to God, you say “No” to God’s best for your life.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB)