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At the Appointed Time

At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son—in order that God's purpose in election might stand. Romans 9:9, 10 (NIV)

The unlikely cast of characters in the book of Ruth made decisions that, to the reader, seem ill-advised (Do not marry those foreign women!) and made no sense. (Beg to live with your mother-in-law who—unlike you—put her faith in the God of Israel? Boldly glean wheat in a field that isn't yours?)

But we can literally draw a line from the final verses in Ruth to the genealogy in Matthew 1:1-17 and see the ultimate reason for these divine intersections.

It was Jesus, our Savior.

At the appointed time, Jesus came to earth—at the height of Roman control under an explicitly wicked ruler. In the natural, the stage was set for disaster. But it was the appointed time for God to fulfill his promise (Genesis 3:15) and make his move, unfolding the events of his pre-determined plan.

The study of Ruth (a satisfying love story) had me pondering God's divine direction in my life, particularly the reason why I first attended Second Baptist Church in Houston, Texas in 1987. It was simply a favor for a frenzied co-worker—and, yes, to put an end to the frenzy.

“Please, go with me.”

I may have gaped at her. A mega-church that drew hundreds of people each week, urging its members to make room for visitors by parking off campus in designated spots and taking a shuttle bus to the entrance? Sheesh.

But my co-worker would often page me (dating myself there) and beg me to meet her in the chapel at the hospital where we worked. She'd wanted me to pray with her, asking God to either remove her desire for a husband or to give her the Mr. Right she was certain was right around the corner, or pew, in this case.


I caved that following Sunday ... which led to an another visit. Then another.

Huh. It wasn't so bad. In fact, I really appreciated their pastor, took copious notes.

Fast forward several months to the one (of 7) Sunday School classes I'd visited where—at the appointed time—I met my own Prince Charmer. (cue co-worker's disgruntled glower)

When I consider the millisecond's hesitation to set foot in that church, I shudder at how different my life might be today.

Among an endless list ...

✶Four semi-adultish children who affectionately call me momma wouldn’t exist. ✶Their foolish escapes that have lured them from the faith would not have increased my dependency on God.

✶I may have lived a life of singleness or found love-ever-after some other time and place. Unimaginable!

I’m stunned by the grace of God to sovereignly maneuver my steps in a particular direction … at the appointed time.

And what if my husband's parents hadn't sought adoption? Mary would have had no Prince Charmer to swoon over in Sunday School ... at the appointed time.

But if my mom hadn't agreed to a blind date with my dad on July 4th 1945, there'd have been no Mary to meet said Prince Charmer. You'd not be reading this blog and there would be no Felkins fiction. Perish the thought! 😇

At any given time, right beneath our feet, is our mission field, and it's ripe for harvest. There are sovereignly appointed moments around every corner—and pew. God engineers the relational intersections we encounter, whether online or in person, at home or work.

Where will the Lord direct our steps today? Is this the appointed time he's prompting us to take a particular route—and are we submitting to that or clenching a fist against it?

He delights in our willingness to go where he leads or wait until the appointed time for us to move.

Points to Ponder

1. When has a favor turned out to be God’s appointed time to use you in someone's life?

2. What detour is God asking you to take from your agenda? Does today hold the appointed time?

3. When have you yielded in obedience and considered the awesomeness of what would have become if you hadn’t?

Thanks for reading!

If you were inspired by today's post and know others who would enjoy it, I'd be super grateful if you'd share.


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J.D. Wininger
J.D. Wininger
Jun 16, 2023

I wonder sometimes, are they "What Ifs" or "But Gods"? Perhaps it's when we can look back across our lives with eyes of faith, we can see God's hand in everything about our life. What a great post Ms. Mary. Much for us to consider ma'am.

Mary A. Felkins
Mary A. Felkins
Jun 17, 2023
Replying to

Yes, good thoughts! We should always look at our lives, our every little moments, through the eyes of faith. Things in the natural take on a vastly different look when we do. I’m grateful God moved to intersect our paths at the appointed time!


Katherine Pasour
Katherine Pasour
Jun 14, 2023

Your message leads to thoughtful reflection. There are so many times in my past when things didn't turn out as I planned. Yet, when I look back, I see God's plan in action. So many "what ifs" but God had the plan, not me. I hope your friend found her Prince Charmer at some point.

Mary A. Felkins
Mary A. Felkins
Jun 17, 2023
Replying to

PS. Sadly, my friend caved to parental pressure I hadn’t realized she’d been under and she married a man she didn’t really love. They divorced. I don’t know if she ever found the right guy 🤷‍♀️

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