At different points in William Bordon's short life, he wrote in the back of his Bible, “No reserves, no retreats, no regrets.”
After he graduated from high school in 1904, Bordon was called to be a missionary. Although he came from a wealthy family, wealth did not possess him. Early in his life, a friend expressed that he was throwing his life away by becoming a missionary. Bordon wrote in his Bible, “No reserves.” After he graduated from Yale, he was offered lucrative positions. He penned, “No retreats.”
His missionary call narrowed to a Muslim group in China. After doing graduate work at Princeton Seminary, he left for Egypt to study Arabic before arriving in China. In Egypt, he contracted spinal meningitis and within a month was dead at age twenty-five. Before his death, under the other two notations he had made in his Bible, he wrote, “No regrets.”
Was William Borden's seemingly untimely death a waste of human life? Absolutely not. Thousands have read his story and have been encouraged in their missionary call. God never wastes any of our sorrows.
Things happen to Christians. We experience what we don't expect, and some expectations don't come to fruition. The Christian life often entails disappointments we can't understand, but God uses them for His ultimate good.
God lives in the eternal now. He makes decisions based on past, present, and future considerations. Humans remember the past imperfectly and know what is happening now—but know nothing about the future. God dwells on eternal priorities while we major on temporal ones. Our heavenly Father always knows best.
Church history is littered with people who have done great things for God yet became sullen and cynical at the end of their lives. Things happened to them that may have seemed unfair or unjust. Some ended their lives in unbelief rather than faith in God.
Will you, like William Borden, at the end of your journey, be able to say, “No reserves, no retreats, no regrets.”
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