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  • Daughter of the most high

Delayed but not Denied

Updated: Apr 5, 2022

Am I the only one whose felt it? That feeling that I've missed my chance, my time, my opportunity?

When we are young, we feel endless possibility. Maybe I'll be a pastor, a famous gospel singer, or an inspirational speaker. Now I sit here in my 30s wondering, what have I done? Now don't get me wrong. I have accomplished plenty and by all accounts, been successful. I spent many years learning, studying for exams, and ultimately graduating with several degrees. I then went on to start my career and have since worked in several fulfilling roles and can truly say I've made a difference in some ones life. All of that being said however, I still sit here wondering, what opportunities did I miss when I was astray? Am I too old now to accomplish my spiritual purpose?

I wanted to examine this thought further by looking at some of the most influential people in the Bible:

1. The Apostle Paul

His original name was Saul of Tarsus and he started his life as a pharisee, who persecuted those involved in the Christian movement. He lived this way until he was approximately 30-years-old before ultimately seeing the vision that would alter the course of his life. Paul would go on to become one of the most important people in the history of christianity but his primary years in ministry were his 40s and 50s. Paul is one of the best examples of a delayed purpose. His purpose didn't suffer because he wasn't in his role for the first half of his life. Instead, his ministry was stronger for it. Even more impressive, was the fact that he persecuted the very people he ultimately ministered to later in life. Again, this didn't negate his ultimate purpose but strengthened it.

2. Joseph

We know Joseph as one of 12 sons. He was highly favored by his father and therefore his brothers were very jealous of him. Their jealousy drove them to sell Joseph into slavery. Joseph's life was complicated after this moment. He served a leader in Egypt for a while but was then imprisoned after a false accusation. He was then in prison for a time before finally getting a chance to redeem himself by offering up interpretations to Pharaoh's dreams. His interpretations ultimately led him to become second-in-command in Egypt. Joseph was 30-years-old when he became second in command to Pharaoh (Genesis 41:46). After a long, trying start-to-life, Joseph stepped foot into a place of power and began to fulfill his ultimate purpose. Just like the Apostle Paul, Joseph's delays did not negatively impact his ministry but instead, made it more impactful than he could've ever imagined.

3. David

David is one of the most well-known figures in history. He starts life humbly as a shepherd but is soon anointed by the prophet Samuel, as King of Israel. At the time of this anointing, Israel already had a king, Saul. David and Saul first met when David was brought in to be a musician for Saul. It was from this encounter with Saul, that David came to be on the battlefield where he famously used his slingshot to take down the giant. Based on this success and others, David ultimately became a successful warrior in Saul's army. This placement among other things, caused Saul to fear David and ultimately try to kill him. David was therefore on the run until Saul died in battle a time later. After Saul's death, David emerged from his exile and was crowned king. David ultimately reached his purpose by becoming King when he was 30-years-old (2nd Samuel 5:4). After this story, we are now beginning to see a few themes emerge: (1) delayed purpose, (2) purpose fulfilled after trials and tribulations, and (3) a purpose later in life and after such trials can be the strongest of them all.

4. Ezekiel

Not as much is known about Ezekiel's upbringing and early life but we know he was part of a group exiled around the age of 25 based on other dates referenced in the Bible. It was long after Ezekiel was exiled, that he was called to be a prophet, his ultimate purpose. Ezekiel was called to be a prophet when he was 30 (Ezekiel 1:1). He went on to become one of the most famous prophets in history shining light on judgment and the end times (Ezekiel 37-40).

5. Jesus

The stories of Jesus are world-famous and many of us know the facts of his childhood. What some perhaps do not realize is that Jesus did not start his ministry until he was 30-years-old (Luke 3:23). This is the son of God who came to Earth knowing all. As a result, from birth, he knew his ultimate purpose but he still didn't get there until later in life.

For those of us not born knowing our ultimate purpose, making it there before we turn 30 (or older) is nothing less than miraculous. For those that did just this, that's amazing. You get to spend more of your life doing the thing you were meant to do. But for those of us, like me, who sit here with wrinkles forming on our faces still questioning our purpose, there is still time. There is always time. But don't fear the impact your age or your past has on your purpose, embrace it and be stronger for it. The thing you were meant to do is still out there waiting to be claimed and like our fellow-christians whose stories you read prior, you too can become stronger because of your delays.

All of these examples show: (1) You are never too old to fulfill your purpose, (2) Your past doesn't have to define your future and if it does, it doesn't have to be negative, and finally, (3) Your age and past mistakes can make your later-in-life ministry stronger, if you let it and do not fear it.

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