Thursday, September 18, 2014

Biweekly Bits #17: Timing is Important

After writing 26 bits, I realized that there is so much I could elaborate on with each of my bits. So I decided to turn them into a biweekly (i.e. fortnightly) series, for the next year.

The right thing at the wrong time is still the wrong thing. Have you ever thrown something away and then needed it shortly thereafter? Or found something that you really needed once you no longer had need for it? Or received something, met someone, gained an opportunity that seems wonderful, but you KNOW you aren't ready to fully receive/appreciate it? Timing is everything. More importantly, God's timing is everything.
I've often experienced this phenomenon, where right after I give or throw something away, I come across the one situation in which it would have been useful to me. It's such a frustrating position to be in! But to be honest, it never was a do or die situation: things worked out just fine without having that one thing that I thought would have been perfect for that situation. Perhaps this is one of the best illustrations of God's timing, that even when we think the circumstances are not ideal, he nudges us forward, whispering, "It's time my dear." It is in times like that that we trust God's sovereignty over our lives, knowing that if He is calling us, the time is right, and we will be fully equipped to do whatever is asked of us.

I've also experienced what might be the opposite of the former situation: a seemingly great opportunity comes along, but for some reason, you can't take it. While sometimes missed opportunities are exactly what the name suggests, there are also times when missed opportunities are the voice of God saying to us "Not yet, my dear. It's not time yet." This is particularly hard to hear when something seems to be perfect for you, except for the timing, when everything that you wanted seems to be walking right by, but you can't take hold of it. The right thing at the wrong time is still the wrong thing. It is in times like these that we trust God's sovereignty over our lives, knowing that there is a reason for "missing out", and trusting in His ability to provide for us.

The key to trusting in God's timing is trusting in God. If we pine after the "what ifs" and the "could have beens" and the general "shoulda-woulda-couldas" of life, aren't we at the same moment implying that God is not always good? Or that God cannot be trusted to provide for us once more? When Samuel was called by God (1 Samuel 3), he was confused, and he didn't understand the call. God had to call Samuel three times before Samuel finally knew how to respond. But God kept calling Samuel until he answered, because God had work for Samuel to do, and the time was right for him to do it.

As a young boy Joseph had a dream that all his brothers would bow before him (Gen 37). He knew that this was a dream from the Lord. But it was decades before Joseph saw that dream come to fruition, and before it did, he would spend years in jail in Egypt. During that time he interprets a dream for the king's cupbearer (Gen 40), who would be reinstated to his position. When the cupbearerer leaves the jail just as Joseph predicts, Joseph asks him to remember him to the king, so that Joseph too, could be released from jail. And the cupbearer does remember Joseph to the king, two years later. Joseph was probably very frustrated as the days went by and he remained in jail, but God's timing was perfect. Joseph was released from jail just in time to warn Pharaoh of an imminent famine, which would result in him being named Pharaoh's second-in-command. When the famine did come (Gen 41-42), Joseph's brothers came to Egypt to purchase food, which would place them bowing before the appointee of Pharaoh who was, yup, their brother Joseph. God provided, and did it in His time.

Every time I come to a crossroads in my life, I have a  greater appreciation for God's timing. I think we've become so used to this 21st century culture of having whatever we want, whenever we want, that we miss the beauty of the right thing coming at exactly the right time.

This time, I'm preparing to graduate, which of course means that I have to decide what I'm doing next, and as of this moment, I have absolutely no idea. It's frustrating to be so uncertain, but I remember having every single class that I wanted to take mapped out at the beginning of my freshman year of college eight years ago, and how much that changed because of the ways God moved in my life. But it is in this season that I can most appreciate God's timing, because I am confident that not only will He guide me as I make major life decisions, but also that the timing of His provision is always perfect.

So perhaps you may share this prayer with me today, that the right thing may happen at the right time. Or maybe this week you can rejoice over the beauty and perfection of God's timing in your own life.

Be blessed and shine in His time!

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A person finds joy in giving an apt reply—
and how good is a timely word! -Prov 15:23