I was eleven years old when my pastor, Al Gaspard, used this illustration preaching about God as the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end (Rev 22:13). He declared that God knows everything. He is the God from which all history springs and the One who knows all things to come.
To illustrate his point, Pastor Al told a story of a little boy who loved the circus. When walking to the corner grocery with his mom, he saw a poster pasted to a pole outside the front door of the store advertising the circus coming to town. In those days, the circus traveled from town to town by train, and the train depot was not far from the boy’s home.
The circus train arrived Saturday morning, unloaded, and all the animals, clowns, and acrobats began marching down the street.
They stepped to the beat of the big bass drum while the trombones and trumpets heralded their arrival. Hearing the commotion, the little boy sprang from the back porch and bounded into the backyard. He ran to the six-foot high wooden fence that wrapped around the yard and peered through a knothole. The hole was big enough to see what was directly in front. But as much as the little boy tried, he could not see down the street to either his left or his right.
Meanwhile, his father was on the roof of the family home making a few repairs and could see everything. He observed the circus coming down the street. The circus passed and the father watched as the group reached the field at the far end of town and began setting up the big circus tents. Despite not seeing as much as his father, the son was not disappointed (Deut 29:29). His dad promised they would go that evening and see the circus together.
In a Sunday morning worship service when I was 16 years old, I sat in the pew praying while Pastor Al preached the sermon. I was struggling, doubting, not knowing God was calling me. With my eyes closed, I saw Jesus before me and beside Him were antique
brass scales. I felt Jesus beckoning me to follow Him (Matt 4:19), to give myself to Him. “But I can’t, Jesus,” I spoke in defiance. “I have my dreams and they do not include you.” Again, He bid me to follow. I stood my ground, and then He asked me to put all my dreams on one side of the scale. I did. I stacked them high, weighing the pan down. In a blink of my eyes, Jesus stood on the other side, and the pan crashed down. My rebellious heart gave
way and I yielded everything to Him. It was the best decision I ever made. I would follow Jesus! But to where, I did not know.
I was called to be the student minister of First Baptist Tioga at age 25. Then, God opened the door for me to serve Louisiana Baptists
on staff of the group’s newsjournal, and five years later I became the communications director at the Louisiana Baptist Children’s
Home in Monroe.
In 2000, God led me to North Carolina where I have served at Baptist Children’s Homes for 23 years. But despite my service, I never attended seminary. I’m not complaining; I was following and God never led in that direction, until recently. Twenty eight months ago, Jesus ushered me into Moody Theological Seminary. It was a path I never had imagined, one that He alone could see.
On Saturday, May 14, I knelt on the stage of Torrey-Gray Auditorium in Chicago while being hooded, my masters degree in biblical studies being conferred.
Hymn writer William Cushing joyfully proclaims: “Follow! Follow! I will follow Jesus! Anywhere, everywhere, I will follow on!” You and I follow the all-knowing God, and His vantage point spans the whole of space and time. From the “roof top,” God sees the entirety and calls, “Follow me!”
But the choice is always ours. We can choose to view life from the knothole, making our plans based only on what we see. Or we can embark on a life lived by faith.
Just like the boy in Pastor Al’s illustration, just like the teen and the brass scales, and just like the young man answering ministry’s
varied calling, I find myself back at the knothole straining to see the future, seeking to see beyond my ability. Thankfully, there are the words of the prophet to assure: “For I know the plans I have for you...” (Jer 29:11).
I choose faith in the omniscient God, and in the words of Cushing, once again affirm, “Everywhere He leads me I will follow on!”
Written by Jim Edminson, Editor of Charity & Children