As the Lord Intended
In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps (Prov. 16:9).
I became a Christian June 19, 1938, three weeks shy of my 16th birthday. Later that same day, God filled me with His Holy Spirit and called me to preach and to teach His Word.
As a teen, everything had “come up roses” for me: scholastically always No. 1, closest girlfriends from the “best” and wealthiest families in our city, boyfriends galore, and flattered continually. My town’s radio station requested I do a weekly Sunday afternoon half-hour program when I was 12. At 15, I sang with a guitar ensemble, performing at many denominations’ church functions and at large banquets and civic events. The net result was a heart full of pride, albeit hidden.
When I put my faith in Christ, my favorite Scripture was: “May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal. 6:14). I saw my world—all that I had taken so much pride in—now dead as a criminal on a cross and I dead to that world which had formerly controlled my life.
I put aside my plans to be an attorney and attend a prestigious university and law school. Instead the Lord showed me the place of His choice: a Bible school in New York.
First Comes Love
I enrolled at Nyack College to earn diplomas in theology and Christian education. I did so having already fallen in love with George Hall, my pastor, a man 16-and-a-half years my senior. And I knew he loved me too.
I also understood George would never be a foreign missionary. He had been appointed to Wuchow, South China, and had his outfit partly gathered. Then a doctor told him, “Young man, you could not survive in that heat six months!” The failed physical exam was God’s way of shutting the door for him to overseas missions.
“You’re going to Nyack,” George said to me, “without any strings attached. No, we’re not going to regard ourselves as engaged, because we’re going to give God every chance for you to meet someone else who could possibly be His choice for you.”
I demurred, but he was adamant. So I accepted a few dates; however, it was not long before I wrote, “Honey, this is absurd! Both you and God know that ‘my heart is fixed.’ I have no uncertainty.” I decided unilaterally “no more dating.” I wanted to marry George.
Then Comes Missions
I was not prepared for what would happen during the fall Spiritual Emphasis Week at Nyack. H. E. Nelson’s message concerned being in the center of God’s will. I had thought that I was more than willing to be a missionary overseas if the Lord were to ask me to be. But I didn’t know my own heart.
That morning as we sang, “Sweet will of God, still fold me closer, till I am wholly lost in Thee,” strangely and suddenly it seemed that God said to me, Marien, I want you to use the ability I have given you in linguistics, and I want you to go to the mission field and be a translation missionary.
I then knew I would never marry, which would mean putting aside all thought of children, grandchildren, and every good thing we had looked forward to. But I said, Yes, Lord, I welcome all Thy blessed will. It was painfully difficult. So God worked in me.
Subsequently, after time spent feeding on His Word and communing with Him in prayer, I decided I wanted to be a missionary more than anything else. I did not want to be married. I felt “the regions beyond” should have the best and the brightest of His servants, and I wrote to George accordingly. In essence I said, “It’s not to be for us!”
Back from the Dead
Several months went by. One day while I was praying through His Word, the Lord again gave an astounding revelation. He made it very clear, free from any doubt, that what I had undergone was not an authentic call from Him to be a foreign missionary but rather a test such as Abraham’s when God asked him to offer Isaac as a sacrifice (Gen. 22). This father actually took the knife in his hand to “slay his son.” Then God stopped him.
George Hall was Marien Kindberg’s Isaac. I had obeyed. He was dead to me as a life’s mate. Now the Lord directed me to Hebrews 11:17–19. “[F]iguratively speaking, [Abraham] did receive Isaac back from the dead.” The Lord made it plain to me that now, like Abraham, I was given my Isaac back from the dead.
What was God’s purpose in putting me through this trial? In addition to altering my heart’s attitude, it was that I, like George, could in our future ministry challenge youth to give their lives for missionary service with the sure confidence that each of us had wanted to go overseas and had been denied that privilege according to God’s will.
Waiting and Trusting
Then came the day in 1941, in the course of my regular reading, while I knelt by my bed with my Bible open before me, that I read Isaiah 49. The latter half of verse 6 leaped from the page: “I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”
I recognized the voice of God’s Spirit to my spirit. I answered, Whatever can You mean, Lord, by saying this to me now? Not long ago You denied me the privilege of going as a light to the nations. I was perplexed like Mary who said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34).
The question over which my mind and heart puzzled was, How can this be since my Lord so recently made it plain that His will for me was to unite with George and together and individually serve Him on this continent? The only conceivable answer, I thought, was that His plan was to give us a child who would be that missionary, and thus my commission would be fulfilled. From then on, I accepted that as the probable answer.
Many years went by in pastorates and various separate ministries. Our one and only child, Timothy, was born in 1948. As a teen, Tim said to us, “I’ve assumed that I would serve the Lord full time in some way, but I’m realizing I have never had a real call from God. You’ve told me repeatedly that one must have that. Apart from such a clear call, I can’t go ahead and just expect to be a missionary or pastor. So I’m going to enroll at the university and major in what I like most: mathematics.”
Through the following years I kept saying, I don’t know, Lord, how You are going to fulfill this commission You gave me in 1941, but I trust You to do it. I received no word from Him on this matter until 50 years later.
Starting to Make Sense
In September 1991, during an extended time of prayer at our church, one of the requests broke my heart. It told of the reality of 43 missionary candidates, fully qualified and ready by as much as 12 years of preparation, who could not be sent because money was not on hand. Lord, I prayed, this cannot be! Somehow provide. Then I prayed, Lord, what can I do about it?
This concern and my sincere prayer culminated in an idea to start the Harvest Field Workers Endowment Fund (Matt. 9:38) to send out first-term foreign missionaries.
Then one day in June 1992 I was walking in the sunshine and communing with the Lord, basking in the delight of His presence, and He spoke to me in that unmistakable voice. Lo, there it was! All laid out before me: The missionaries sent out by this fund would be my proxies and fulfilment as God intended it, and not as I had assumed, of my Isaiah 49:6 commission.
You can imagine what a wonderful revelation this was and how it strained my credulity to believe that it could be, for who am I to be blessed as to establish this missionary fund?
Later, I refreshed my recollection of 1 Chronicles 29 and found to my delight that David had felt exactly the same way after he and his people, whom he had challenged, gave willingly and joyfully to build the Lord’s temple. “‘But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand’” (v. 14).
This is all the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in my eyes. All praise to Him who reigns above in majesty supreme! Blessed be the name of the Lord!
What’s Your Legacy?
Do you want to leave a legacy as Marien Hall did? Learn more about C&MA gift planning by calling the Donor Relations Office at (719) 265-2111.
Read how God provided the means for Marien to start the Harvest Field Workers Endowment Fund in “A Widow’s Mite.”
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