He has made everything beautiful in its time.
Timing is everything. Knowing when to act is essential to success in virtually any endeavor. In baseball, timing is essential if the batter expects to hit a baseball coming at him at 90-100 mph. In investing, knowing when to buy and when to sell is essential. In business, discerning the right time to introduce a new product can be the difference between success or failure. Even in baking, timing is an essential component of a successful bake.
As important as timing is, it is not always easy to determine it. For example, several years ago our church was rapidly growing and our physical space was quickly becoming inadequate. Everything told us it was time to step out in faith and add onto our facilities. We did exactly that, totally unaware that our world was about to enter a global economic crisis that would change everything. Obviously, we do not always get our timing right.
In contrast, God’s timing is always perfect. He knows exactly when to act and when to hold back. This is seen most clearly in the coming of Jesus into our world. The people of Israel had waiting for centuries for the Messiah to come. At exactly the right moment, God sent Jesus into the world. But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. (Galatians 4:4-5) You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:6)
It is not hard for us to look back and see the perfection of God’s timing in the past. The problem arises as our timing and God’s timing collide in the present. As much as we say that we trust God, we want things to take place according to our time table. In general, we are in a hurry. Our perspective is limited to the immediate future. We cannot see much beyond today, so we base our decisions on our present reality. On the other hand, God can see far into our future. He knows what we do not. He knows what is best for us and often this involves being patient. The Psalmist instructs us that we are to wait for the Lord and not rush ahead.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
What does it mean for us to truly wait for the Lord? It begins with genuinely trusting God and believing that His timing is always right. Waiting is an act of trust. By patiently waiting for the Lord’s timing, we are acknowledging His sovereignty in our lives.
Waiting is not passive though. God wants to use our waiting time to prepare us for what is to come. As we wait, we need to do our part to actively get ready to move forward. It is similar to spending four years in college so that we can be better equipped to enter the working world. God never wastes our waiting time, but uses it as His training ground. Our part is to embrace the lessons that God is teaching us.
Waiting is also keeping our eyes open and being ready to move when the time comes. A major aspect of good timing is having discernment. The danger of waiting is that we can become complacent. We can settle into our routine and miss the opportunity when it comes. Solomon reminds us that discernment is an essential aspect of a successful life.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
It is not wrong for us to make plans for the future. God wants us to do exactly that. But He wants to be at the center of those plans. As we submit our plans to God, we can trust that His timing will be just right.
Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails.