Bob Dingman ’50: God’s Guidance | Highlander Devotional

July 22, 2019

How Does God Guide Us?

The guidance for our lives by God’s “eye” seems to operate so differently in the lives of many of us. For instance, George Johnson, my classmate, knew when he came to Houghton College that he was headed into gospel ministry and that he would marry Jan. He did both. However, folks like me don’t seem to sense God’s guidance so clearly and for the long run. Instead, we have to move along by a series of nudges from God, His people, and numerous open and closed doors. Isn’t God gracious to meet our needs even when we are dull of perception a lot of the time?

Guidance Through Failure…

As a Pre-med major, I had academic problems. God’s servant, Dr. George Moreland, redirected my life plan by advising me to find a new major. During the same semester, an attractive female classmate declined my offer of future matrimony. With her rejection and a 1.5 GPA, I felt depressed and wondered if I really was college material.

Guidance Through God’s People…

Recovery came from the counsel of good friends and Dr. Marvin Nelson, the new psychology professor. He opened up to me the fascinating field of interpersonal relationships and human behavior–and this shaped my future career. Jan Meade completed my emotional recovery when she came on campus as a freshman. Our relationship blossomed into a forty-seven-year marriage.

When Does God Guide Us?

After ten years in corporate personnel administration jobs, I moved into the new field of executive search and opened my firm. A Christian contact offered me the opportunity to recruit for the position of president of World Vision International. Because I had never worked with the business-oriented methodologies within a Christian organization before, I was only able to complete my job after many nights of diligent prayer. That successful search led to over fifty subsequent successful searches for evangelical groups and encouraging many other search firms to also devote part of their practice to serving Christian organizations.

Always at the Right Time.

It seems likely that I needed extra years of preparation before I was ready for God to use my gifts in any significant way. Or, maybe I was just very slow to hear His guiding voice. Looking back now over eighty years, I can see how faithful God is in His leading us and guiding our steps, even when we may not be listening for His voice or discerning His guiding “eye.”

This entry was originally published in Creekstones, a digital devotional written and compiled by Houghton College alumni in 2010. As an executive recruiter, Bob found presidents for Christian organizations including Young Life, InterVarsity, World Vision International, Belhaven College, Denver Seminary, George Fox University, and Mission Aviation Fellowship. He passed away in 2016.

Highlander Devotionals are contributed by members of the broader Houghton community, including our worldwide alumni family. These reflections are a testament to the continued, transforming work of Jesus Christ in the lives of alumni and others who have called Houghton “home.”