“When it pleased God…”
Paul was called to this new and narrow path. He tells his testimony early in his epistle to the Galatians. He tells how he had been walking zealously, but walking the wrong way – walking in the legalism of the Judaic law… walking in a way opposite to the gospel of grace. He was getting exercise alright, but like a man walking through thorn bushes his walk was far from healthy! It was destructive.
Then God met him. In His own time, in His own way, God intervened as Paul walked, both figuratively and literally on His way to Damascus… on His way to persecute those walking the right way, in ‘the Way.’ Paul writes,
“When it pleased God… to reveal His son in me…” (Gal. 1:15-16, NKJV).
God does what He does when He sees fit to do it, not when we might like to demand it… God does what He does “at the appointed time” (Gen. 18:14; 21:2; Hab. 2:3), at “the time of the promise” (Acts 7:27), and “In the fullness of time” (Gal. 4:4). And God says “Now is the time, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2; Isa. 49:8) – and one day this time will end.
Mankind likes to do a thing when it pleases him, and the devil encourages him in this thought. “Oh… the gospel… well yes, but just not now. At a time convenient I will give thought to that.” And the devil laughs! It matters not to him what the intent, only that the time not be now…
Felix played this game. Perhaps sensing conviction he put Paul’s preaching aside, deferred the gospel to his own imagined schedule.“
“As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, ‘That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.’” (Acts 24:25).
By putting off God’s time Felix lost his opportunity… he damned his soul.
Esau rued his missed opportunity: “…though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.” (Heb. 12:16-17). The five virgins learned this. When they returned “the door was shut.” “I never knew you,” He said (Matt. 25:1-13). Martha thought the Lord’s timing wrong: “…if you had been here, my brother would not have died,” she wept. (John 11:21). But the Christ had something much greater in mind.
“When it pleased God…” – Chambers comments:
“As servants of God, we must learn to make room for Him… The way to make room for Him is to expect Him to come, but not in a certain way. No matter how well we may know God, the great lesson to learn is that He may break in at any minute. We tend to overlook this element of surprise, yet God never works in any other way. Suddenly—God meets our life “…when it pleased God….” – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Jan.25 entry.