All of us have experienced turning points in our lives. Interestingly, we often do not realize that, at the time, we were experiencing a major life change.
A career company man is laid off after years of service. After grieving over this loss he lands a job in a different field he finds much more fulfilling. The earlier layoff, now viewed from the clear perspective of distance and time, turns out to be a hidden blessing from the hand of God. A turning point of sorts.
A student labors through assignment after assignment from a highly disciplined teacher. Each evening, the student whines and complains about, “the impossible demands of this unyielding professor.” Yet years later, the very same student recommends the graying professor to an incoming student adding, “Under him, I really learned what studying was all about!”
Many times these turning points are so subtle we barely even notice them. Sure, there are car wrecks, and heart attacks, and brief encounters that result in large financial benefits. Those life changes are easier to acknowledge. Most life change, however, happens imperceptibly. Subtle habits become ingrained tendencies. With a backward glance over the shoulder significant patterns emerge.
I recently spent a day at the world famous Cooper Clinic located here in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Kenneth Cooper is the genius who originated the whole concept of aerobics. After a day of poking and prodding Dr. Cooper and his team can unearth not only what a person has been doing in every realm of physical exercise, but what that person has been doing at the dinner table as well. At no other time do these subtle daily habits appear on the computer screen more vividly. If one allows, a few hours spent at the Cooper Clinic can lead to a real turning point. Mine certainly did!
Turning points emerge in Scripture as soon as the cover is turned back. Adam and Eve arrived at a turning point that plunged all of their future family into death and depravity. Noah and his family received a loving ultimatum from God: build an ark or drown. Their turning point was a life-or-death issue for all of humanity as well. Joseph faced a turning point while in an Egyptian prison … when Pharaoh needed help interpreting his dream. His future became the opposite of his past. These turning points appear again and again as God works out His sovereign plan.
Of course the ultimate turning point occurred on a hill outside Jerusalem. On that epochal afternoon the sky turned dark. The temple shroud was ripped in two. Jesus Christ cried out. Time stood still. This was the ultimate turning point. In that strange, awesome moment, God provided a way for the created to reach the Creator. Mankind’s future rested on this majestic turning point.
The greatest turning point always seems to be the one you’re currently facing. I’m confident this issue of our award-winning magazine will help guide you through the decision- making process in which you’re presently engaged. These articles have been written from those who have experienced true turning points.
Yes, choice can be daunting. All of us shudder, looking back, at the decisions we have made. May God gently yet clearly give you wisdom for whatever you are dealing with today. I hope these pages help you make right choices.
About the Contributors
Charles R. Swindoll has devoted his life to the accurate, practical teaching and application of God’s Word and His grace. A pastor at heart, Chuck has served as the founder and senior pastor-teacher of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas. His leadership as president and now chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary has helped prepare and equip a new generation for ministry. Chuck and his wife Cynthia, have four grown children, ten grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.