“We made a huge decision,” our friends reported as we shared prayer requests. In a great step of faith, they’d decided to sell their dream home so the wife could stay home with their young children.
July 1 was the drop-dead date for a contract so she could withdraw from her teaching contract. But weeks ticked by and the house sat. As the months dragged on, they began to worry. They were praying, so why hadn’t the house sold? Their plans seemed on hold or worse, thwarted.
At what felt like the last possible opportunity, a buyer came, the house sold, they found a wonderful new house and – as only God can do – the wife was able to help another family desperate for a tutor.
We may know God’s timing is perfect, but we don’t always know the full implications of His perfection. Knowing how God works through time can help us rest rather than fret. Here are 7 reasons we can trust God’s timing.
1. God created time and rules over it.
Genesis 1 tells us that “In the beginning, God created…” and one of the first things He created is time. God is uncreated and exists outside of the time limits of our world. (Psalm 90:1-2) And like all things He created, God rules over time.
We see this clearly in Joshua 10, when Israel fought the Amorites and Joshua asked God to make the sun stand still until Israel had not just won, but defeated the entire enemy. “The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since, a day when the Lord listened to a human being.” (Jos 10:13-14)
2. God chooses to work gradually over time.
God could do things instantly. He could answer prayers immediately, heal instantaneously, provide on the spot. But it pleases God to unfold His plan over time. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” (Ecc 3:1)
God took six days to create each aspect of heaven and earth. And though He promised a Redeemer when Adam and Eve sinned, it would be thousands of years before that Redeemer was born. “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.” (Gal 4:4-5) We can rest knowing that what God is doing now is part of His plan as much as what He will bring us to next.
3. God isn’t bound by deadlines.
“There is no panic in heaven” Corrie Ten Boom has famously said. And as my friends waiting to sell their house discovered, God is never late. The corollary? He’s never early. We set up deadlines but God is not bound by any limits.
Henry Blackaby tells about waiting on a $60,000 wire transfer to complete their church building. After multiple delays, the money still hadn’t come. Amazingly, the money was finally wired on the only day the Canadian exchange rate fell so much that it provided an additional $60,000. (Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby)
4. God knows the end from the beginning.
When we hit a hard place, we want to know when and how it will end. As I read books on grief after my husband died, I always turned to the epilogue first – I wanted to know whether this widow had remarried and whether her kids were okay.
When we’re in between, we can trust God with the ending. Isaiah 46:9-10 says, “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.” God doesn’t just know now what will happen; He’s known it from eternity past.
5. Time is not our enemy.
Since God created time, it is good. We know that God uses time for His purposes and specifically determined the time each of us would be born as well as the span of our life. (Acts 17:26; Psalm 139:16)
Because God rules over time, there is enough time this day, this year, this life to complete the full will of God for our lives. When we feel rushed and pressed, we need to remember that time is not our enemy. We may have taken on tasks not meant for us or we may waste time given us, but God has provided the perfect amount of time for each of us to do His will each day.
6. There is no Fear of Missing Out.
Ever scrolled through your newsfeed and felt like all the opportunities were passing you by? We’re apt to think we’re missing out and those opportunities will never come again. As the weeks and months and years roll by, we see our hopes, our dreams, our callings as fleeting.
But there is no missing out in God’s timing! Sarah and Abraham thought they’d missed out on a child but God was revealing Himself in the wait. Joseph hadn’t been passed by as he languished in prison; God was waiting for the perfect opportunity to catapult him to prominence and influence. And Paul realized the chains keeping him from the mission field actually advanced the gospel – far beyond what even he could see as we read today letters he was compelled to write in prison when he couldn’t visit the churches. (Phil 1:12)
7. God works everything for good – in His timing.
When Romans 8:28 promises God works all things “for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” we tend to add three little words – “in our lifetime.”
But those words aren’t there and they limit the timing of God’s work. God is eternal and His work continues long after our life is over. Truth is, we may not see the fullness of God’s good in our lifetime. Hebrews 11 tells us of persecuted believers who died never seeing the fulfillment of God’s promised Redeemer because God was waiting for His perfect timing. Yet, they are commended for trusting God’s promise and His timing.
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