Part of having faith is knowing that God has a plan for each of us. But we also know that sometimes we can’t know how that plan will play out. Sometimes God plays the long game.
When Tim Bisagno was ten years old, a visitor said that if, later in life, he was struggling, he should get in touch. Growing up as a pastor’s kid in a megachurch, Tim understood that God had called him to full-time ministry. He dutifully attended seminary, but his heart wasn’t in it.
‘I was running from God for many many years,’ Tim told Mel on 180. ‘And I successfully, but temporarily, covered up His voice in my heart and in my mind. It was calling me back to Him, and I covered it up with drugs and alcohol.’
But God kept patiently reminding Tim of his destiny. ‘Like Chinese water torture, He’s just tapping you on the shoulder. It doesn’t hurt but, boy, is it annoying! So, I tried to get that to go away.’
Tim loved God, but he didn’t want to serve Him. He couldn’t think of anything worse than full-time ministry. Eventually though, he reached a turning point. ‘It was really just being sick and tired of being sick and tired,’ he said. ‘I knew the truth, but I wasn’t living it. And that was the worst place imaginable.’
Tim’s last stumbling block was doubting God would want to hear from him. ‘The enemy will tell you that you’ve already asked for forgiveness for this ten thousand times. And He’s sick of hearing this. He knows that you’re just going to do this again. You should just stop talking to Him. Those are lies.’
After a three-day bender, Tim lay on the floor, and told God he couldn’t do this anymore.
‘But I can,’ God replied.
Then He reminded Tim of the man who, 17 years earlier, had offered his support. ‘I called him,’ Tim said, ‘and that was the beginning of the end of that cycle. I got sober 32 years ago now.’
But I’ll tell you one thing they do know. They know that they feel like hell. And what they’re afraid of is that the way they feel couldn’t be any worse than hell. We want to meet them, right there, because that’s where they’re at
In that time, he’s learnt that the kind of ministry God had in mind was quite different from the pastoring he’d imagined. He used his artistic talent to build a successful rock band, then a TV show, MXTV, bringing the Gospel message to young people all over the world.
In late 2019, with no notion of the pandemic that was about to sweep the world, Tim asked God for advice on the future of evangelism. ‘What do we do about connecting with this generation, known as the most connected generation, yet they’re the most disconnected spiritually and emotionally? Where can we have a place for them to go?’
Ten years earlier, after their house had flooded, Tim’s wife had bought a web address, for nine dollars, where they could back up all their important documents. When God reminded him of ‘asafeplaceonline.com’, Tim knew that once again the path had been prepared for him.
The website connects young people, 24/7, to volunteer counselors, who bring Christ-like understanding and good news to their struggle. ‘Young people today, they barely even believe in hell,’ Tim said. ‘But I’ll tell you one thing they do know. They know that they feel like hell. And what they’re afraid of is that the way they feel couldn’t be any worse than hell. We want to meet them, right there, because that’s where they’re at.’
In January last year when the project launched, God asked Tim to pray for 333 salvations. When they had just one that month, he was worried. But the monthly numbers soon improved, reaching a high of 432 in September. Now God has asked him to pray for 999 salvations. ‘Why not 1000?’ Tim asked.
‘Because I care about that one more than you do,’ God answered.
‘So we’re absolutely trusting now for the 999. I believe we’re in a harvest, and so I’m praying for a bigger tractor. This is not just a harvest for A Safe Place Online now. This is a harvest for the Kingdom.’
Tim’s story proves that God can put plans in place that may only come to fruition years later. It’s an important reminder that if you follow His guidance, even when you’re fearful, He can bring you the kind of success you could never have achieved alone.