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June 4, 2007

The Sun Never Sets!

God sometimes closes one door in order to open a far wider field of service. Such was the case in the lives of Richard and Evelyn Forrest, and at some point, it also may be true for you.

Before she married Richard, Evelyn sensed the Lord calling her to become a missionary to French West Africa. Richard, however, felt the Lord was leading him to Brazil. While the Christian and Missionary Alliance mission board approved for her to be a missionary, they denied Evelyn’s request to go to Africa saying her ongoing battle with asthma was the reason.

Richard, on the other hand had been accepted as a missionary to Brazil, but the door closed for him as well. On the eve of his sailing, the missionary he was supposed to partner with suddenly died. After spending time in prayer, Richard and Evelyn came to the same conclusion: God was leading them to go forward with their plans to marry. Therefore on Christmas Eve 1901, they became husband and wife and a few days later accepted a position to do home mission work in Orlando, Florida. Still, their hearts longed to be on the foreign field.

Determined to go overseas, they wrote to the C&MA board in New York asking to be reconsidered as candidates for overseas work. They stated in their letter they would be willing to go anywhere. The board took them up on their offer and wrote back saying they were very happy to read that the Forrests were willing to serve anywhere—and they were to continue serving right where they were in Orlando!

With all the doors to the foreign field closed to them, the Forrests promised God they would send others in their place. By 1935, graduates from Toccoa Falls were on the mission field serving in Africa, India, China, South America, Central America, Cuba, Costa Rica, the Netherlands, East Indies, Haiti, and other lands. Later in his life, Dr. Forrest loved to tell people, “The sun never sets on the work of the graduates of Toccoa Falls College.”

Today, this one statement continues to be a reality all because two people decided to surrender their lives to God and to do what He chose for them to do. Can you say the same thing? “Lord, no matter where you lead or what door you open or close, I’m willing to do exactly what You want me to do.” What may appear to be a closed door from your perspective, could actually turn out to be a broad avenue of blessing from God’s.

(By Angela Ramage. Taken from the online devotional book Grace in The Wilderness © 2007