February 9, 2012

God’s Timing

The Bible is filled with historical events where the people of God were told to wait for His direction, to stand still and wait for His salvation, to wait and let Him restore their strength. Most people don’t like to wait. We want what we want — right now. 

The New Testament has fewer instances of the word, yet the idea of waiting on God is repeated. Jesus told His disciples to stay in Jerusalem and “wait for the promise of the Father” meaning the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:4). Christians are to wait also for the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:25) and of course the return of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:7, 1 Thessalonians 1:10).

Why do we have to wait? Could not God do things immediately and when we think we need them done? Today’s devotional points out that God waits also. He knows exactly the best time to do His work.
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. (Isaiah 30:18)
Yesterday, my sister rejoiced in God’s timing. Her husband was looking for a particular coin that had been in a certain drawer for years. It was missing. She remembered that the drawers got shuffled when a new floor was installed, so started searching in the other nearby drawers. She found the coin, but she also found some old documents. When sorting them, she realized his passport had expired. Since they are travelling in March, this was a timely find. He was able to apply for a renewal that same day.

We laughed at the way God does things. Had the coin not been on my brother-in-law’s mind, the passport expiry may not have been discovered until prior to boarding, too late for the trip. God waited to make sure this detail of life was noted, not too soon, but also not too late.
He is like that. He made the Israelites wait for their freedom until He convinced Pharaoh to let His people go. They were impatient, but His timing was perfect. He waited until Haman built a scaffold to hang Mordecai before the king found out this Jewish man had saved his life, so gave Haman the noose instead . God also waited until Peter’s execution was eminent before sending an angel to release this disciple from prison. His people might want things “right now” but God’s timing is always perfect.

Ten years ago, the valve in my heart was not an issue. Yesterday the heart clinic discovered that now it is an issue. I wonder about the timing. Could not I have had a “routine echocardiogram” five years ago? Why now, when it has caused irreparable damage? I’ve some ideas about His reasons for this timing, yet who can fully understand the mind of God? He has a plan and is never too early or too late. 

Instead of spending a lot of energy wrestling with “why” I have decided to focus on obedience and His promises. He waits to be gracious to me. He exalts Himself to show mercy to me. He is a God who is just and blesses all who wait for Him. He also says, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12). One day I will know why God waited; this day I am content to wait.

Lord, I am almost always aware when Your people are praying for me. I have this overwhelming sense of peace, a feeling of great contentment. Rationally, it makes little sense. I think that I should be stewing or anxious or distressed, but instead, I feel like a weaned child happily sitting in its mother’s lap. Today is a new day. Because Your timing is perfect, I’m trusting You to guide me in what I do today, knowing Your timing is perfect. By waiting on You, I can use the resources You have given me in such a way that You are glorified. Thank You for being so gracious to me.

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