Man Knows Not His Time…

For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.Ecclesiastes 9:12

Recent events have forced me to see how frail I am, and what a miracle it is to be alive and to know and love God! I have known those things before, but such knowledge is elusive, I keep forgetting them, and slipping back into the illusion that all my current blessings  are certain to continue without any interruption.

I had just returned from what I considered to be a very successful trip to New Zealand and Australia, teaching and preaching the Word of God, edifying God’s flock, and simply loving people in the name of Jesus. My church, Believers in Grace Fellowship is happy to send me (and others) all over the world to do this, because they heartily believe the Word of God and will pay any price to forward it.

Upon my return ,I found that our beautiful little meeting place had been broken into, and my office door which was locked, was kicked open. Nothing was taken, thank God, but it was unnerving to see the place of worship, prayer, study and fellowship so profaned. We felt violated. Not even Cedar Rapids ,Iowa is exempt from the spirit of lawlessness sweeping the world.

Later that week we were blessed to have with us the singer Paul Clark, a friend and fellow minister who comes periodically to edify our church. What a blessing He and his lovely mother were to us! He sang two songs in the morning,gave a testimony and then was to give a worship concert that evening.

But between the morning service and the evening one, my wife thought to take advantage of a little gift I had bought for her,  an appointment at a pedicurist. But as she sat at the table having her nails done, a car smashed through the front of the store,forcing my wife to roll out-of-the-way, crawling on her hands and knees to evade the out of control vehicle. A new driver evidently hit the accelerator instead of the brake!

My wife and I were praising God that evening for sparing her life! We were also pinching ourselves, as Paul ministered to a small group of us in song. We tried to pack the place but people were too busy. They had no idea what they were missing. That evening was one of those surreal times, when the presence of the Holy Spirit was so obvious, so healing and reassuring. We really didn’t want it to end.

The next evening, I went to see my grand daughters play volley ball, in a little Christian School out about thirty miles from my home. The road I took was a little two lane highway, which at one end, was reduced to one lane, because of road construction. The volleyball games just went on and on, I was there from five to ten o’clock pm waiting for the games to end.

Finally, I took my two sons home, though the games weren’t over.  I got to the part of the country highway that had only one lane open, which was only one lane for about ten yards, and then opened up into a two lane country road. But as I realized later, I didn’t change back into my proper lane, it didn’t even occur to me to do so!

There I was, driving down a country road on a moonless autumn night. There are no lights other than my car and I am oblivious to the fact that I hadn’t changed lanes. The road is curvy and undulating, and I am telling my sons, “keep an eye out for deer, for they are active”.

All of the sudden there are headlights in front of me, and it is too late for me to do anything but swerve as I am thinking,”That guy is in my lane! What’s going on here?”, But He swerved also and at forty miles an hour we smashed into each other, corner to corner.

My sons are groaning and I am in pain, as we struggle to exit my ruined van as quickly as possible. The other driver is furious, screaming expletives at me, asking me what I was doing in his lane! That was when I realized with horror indeed that I had been in the wrong lane the whole time.

Thank God the other driver was okay, there was nothing wrong with him except a bad scare and probably some achy muscles. Glory to God my sons also, other than some aches in their muscles are alright. Finally, yes, I praise the merciful God that other than a bruise that runs the path of my seatbelt, I am healthy.

But I am hurting in more ways than in my muscles. I can’t believe that I actually did that! My folly almost cost my sons, and someone else’s son their life! How could I have been so negligent? Finally, I could have died, and I don’t want to die that way! My concept of myself as a basically conscientious driver (I had never caused an accident before), is shattered. What was I thinking?

My only comfort is when I consider the sovereignty of God. He could have allowed the accident to be fatal to all or any of us, (a burden I don’t think I could bear). How many other times has my folly been totally countered by Him who works all things for the good of those who love Him?

It does remind me that I so need Him. Who would think that even going to a pedicure is a dangerous proposition? Truly our life is but a vapor! How I need my beautiful wife, my fellow, my best friend! How would I fare without her help, the one God gave me to help me?

And no day or night is just a typical day like any other. All of the time we are just one stupid decision from death, that’s how much we need God. We owe our next breath to God. The truth is, every day is a gift of Love, an opportunity to serve God, who knows how many are left?

But this experience in a strange way, tells me how good God is. God saved me from unbearable sorrow, I could be contemplating the funeral of one of my kids, or someone else’s! My wife could have been killed! We haven’t survived by our own wits or goodness, God has preserved us by His mercy!

You know the scripture that says, we ought to say “If the Lord wills we should do this and that”? It is not teaching us a mere verbal formula, it is challenging a special brand of worldliness, a presumption that almost assumes autonomy. I think I am beginning to see what He is saying, about our ongoing desperate need for God.

Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:  Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.  For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.  But now ye rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil.(James 4:13-16)


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16 Responses to Man Knows Not His Time…

  1. As my women’s study group pours over the book of Joel, I am similarly reminded of these things. Then, when I consider the brevity of life, I am also reminded that nothing here is guaranteed apart from God’s purposes & grace. How amazing (humbling) to consider that we have been set apart for such as this.

    “I realized with horror indeed that I had been in the wrong lane the whole time.” … Been there; done that, in more ways than one. Living intentionally, and yielded, is the antithesis of taking for granted the mercies of each new day.

    So thankful that you & yours have all survived & thrived in the midst of incredible dangers.

  2. Ann Mahoney says:

    I write this with tears flowing, praising God for his goodness and blessings. Thank you Lord for watching over Pastor Randles and his family. Thank you for reminding us in such a stark way that our lives are in fact a vapor and that each breath we take depends on your loving kindness and mercies towards us. And thank you Lord for Pastor Randles, who in his faithfulness has given all praise and glory to You and exemplifies for each of us once again, how blessed we are know You, the Lord our Savior.

  3. sue walters says:

    Hi Bill Thank you for taking the to write your Blog. They are such a blessing and your honesty points us straight to Jesus.

  4. Vicki says:

    Your ministry has meant so much to me and countless others who may never post a comment. Keeping you and family in prayer and thank you for sharing your heart in such a transparent way. We are only a breath away from eternity and spending it with the Lord Jesus is the only thing that really matters.

  5. John says:


    I’m praising God for His watching over you and everyone else mentioned in this saga. It looks to me like the enemy and/or his hordes were working, but our Father oversaw the entire plan and only allowed comparitively minor damage. I like to use the revealed knowledge in Job about how the enemy(ies) have to go through the Father before they can orchestrate their malevolent intentions. My prayer for you is that you and your family can manifest/declare the goodness of God as the insurance and recovery phases play out.

    John Taylor
    Sparks, NV

  6. Hi Bill, Salvador here from South Africa. Praise the Lord that He kept you and your family. But the thing that comes to mind is, did not the same thing happen to David Wilkerson when the Lord took him. Maybe I remember wrong but it seems to be the same story except that he did not walk out of that. But you did. The enemy is certainly about but as you say the Lord is sovereign and has Satan on a leash and yet we are not ignorant of the enemies devices either. For whatever reason the Lord has not finished using you. We know time is shorter now than when we first believed and it will be interesting to see what the Lord shows you, teaches you and says through you in the future. We prayed for your family at home cell and for Alan Mackenzie’s daughter in South Africa who was also in a car accident.

    Shalom in Christ Jesus.

    Salvador and Dianne Ung Hayworth

    • billrandles says:

      Wow- that is something to consider! The Lord is good and His mercies are forever! Salvador we pray for you often and thank God for your work- thanks for praying for us and for being a friend! Your friend-Pas Bill

  7. Robin says:

    Pastor Bill,
    God’s gracious care is written all over your events of the past few weeks!!! Time indeed is very precious, now. (But, it’s not about our time on the earth, but God’s kairos.)
    I was interested in a spiritual point of view (not as one of Job’s friends, however) in the part about your driving on the wrong side of the road, swerving into a crash, but away from the disaster of a head-on. For years, you have been such an astute teacher and lover of God’s have opened passages to the Light for me, and for many. But,. one thing I have noticed, is your fervor for these ‘untied’ States, as our country is pulling further and further away from God.(My strong impression here), but I believe that this is the wrong course for your blogs..(check it out with The HOly Spirit, please). Your pain for those who are called into the military to serve and defend, as they serve the plans of those who are intent on weakening America, is so evident, as your connection to your son and his role, nor the ‘right or wrong’ policies. I believe the time now,is given to Preachers of THe Word as you are, is to turn people to The Lord..not so much as to teach the alignment of prophecy with our times, nor standing up for America and the Right Way. Teaching about Jesus, the Messiah, the One Who writes our name in the Book of LIfe (as is the wish of the Jewish people on Rosh Hashana…that their names may be written in God’s book of life) what we are to do now..There are still people whom God is calling to come into HIs barn, until He shuts the door. It will do no good for people to have a view of the end times,or the perils of following governments, if they don’t know their Savior. It will do no good for people to have all the discernment in this earth, and have not the Savior. Twitching/itching ears always like to be out in the front of ‘knowledge’..a very Greek thing, indeed…but ‘knowing’ prophecy is not knowing The Lord.
    I have been renewed and led to teach God’s Word presently…a word at a time, but back and forth through Old and New Testaments. We have been studying the words: “Remembrance” (which began on Sept.11) (a noun),”Do this in remembrance of Me”, ” Remember” (a verb) ,” Commandment (n.)” Command (v.) and this week, Obedience. Each part of speech (God’s inspired word to us, direct the class back to God…they have been powerful in showing His character, HIs Authority, His FAithfulness, and the continuity of HIs word in both the Old and New Testaments. They read the scriptures which I have written out for them, using the KJV with Strong’s Concordance, and then read what their versions say. Since Jesus IS THE WORD come in the flesh, completely divine and human, HIs Word is so powerful….God in the Flesh, Incarnate Word…These latter day versions of the Bible, are so a tea bag dragged through tepid water, that those who read them, read words which have eliminated the magnificient choice and power of God’s Word. These newer versions, substitute modern or cultural words, eliminating the orthodox understanding of God’s intention and instruction to us Please, in God’s mercy for His people…return in His Strength which HE has given you, to the pulpit with fresh anointing, and grace. Stir up God’s chosen little ones to meet their Savior, as He continues to call, even in these times….They are so hungry.
    In HIs Love and Thankfulness that you and your family are sound, are well and that you shared these great moments of God’s sovereign providence with you. It helps us all to look at God’s ways in our lives, with such gratefulness.

  8. Daniel Eliet says:

    Hi Bill, I was at the 2 meetings with a friend in Christchurch where you preached recently. I’m the bearded on. We spoke briefly about the 2 house of Israel and the little advantage of physical exercise but more the need of God’s guidance etc… I very much appreciate your love and passion for God and His word, we have seen on DVD as much as live. Your cry to people to fear Him and to stay clean with an honoring lifestyle away from the false Gospel… may the people take note. It is such witness, and I sense it so pleasing to the Holy Spirit. Yet as the Word tells, it rains on the righteous as much as on the unrighteous. It is astounding that you have experienced these threats to your family members as much as to your life. You respond so well Bill to those challenge it is inspirational and as somebody said you are being so tranparent. Is someone attempting to bring you down for your righteous life or is Yah testing you? Perhaps He is leading you to higher ground. I pray God bless you as He chooses to, for His Glory.

    • billrandles says:

      Thanks Daniel, I do remember you. Thank you for the exhortation, The lord knows I need it! I am so happy to be alive, and believe me when I say that I am currently “all ears” to hear what my Lord would say to me,his chastened servant. Lets stay in touch dear brother- give my greetings to those in Christchurch, who cling to the unmovable Rock of Ages- Pas Bill

      • Daniel Eliet says:

        Hi Bill, thanks for your reply. I don’t know how private this mail is so… Anyway, I feel humbled as much as honoured by your modesty and meekness from you saying “I am currently “all ears”… Lets stay in touch dear brother”.
        Listening at start a few DVD of yours, I felt connected. When a friend of mine told me you were in town, I was going without hesitation. You appear to me to have a constant passion for our Saviour and a right optic. I love that expressive direction. A right spirit within! However, I sensed in my prayer even coming home from your meetings, that you may have come to a cross-road. There perhaps, as water in a channel building pressure while arriving to an obstacle, causes to push and move beyond. The last blog perhaps revealing such effect.
        I seem to see as it were, being at this cross-road with a continuing road in front that doesn’t seem to continue much further before coming to end, a stop as it were with a stagnating potential. However, the two other roads right and left are continuing. The question is that one is one the right and the other on the left. It doesn’t mean they are systematically opposite but somewhat a dilemma! Where to go from there? Where do these roads lead to? I believe those two roads are not forcibly ministries nor in opposite course or intent, but perhaps in length and scenery.
        I believe there is more to investigate or explore. The question is perhaps where from now. I cannot pursue as I do not know how private this exchange is, for mutual protection.
        Anyway, I leave this with you to see if that witnesses. May the Holy Spirit of the Lord in his love, be upon you for right discernment. Daniel.

  9. Lawrie Cornish - Wellington New Zealand says:

    Gidday there Brother.
    I’m blessed to hear that you and the boys are ok.
    May be too much driving on the left-hand-side in Aussie and New Zealand? Easily done, particularly if you are tired.

    Best regards in Jesus.
    Lawrie Cornish

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