“Timing is everything!” Where have we heard that statement before, right? GotQuestions.org gives us some insight into what this maxim means:
“Timing is everything.” This is a maxim that comedians, campaign managers, and marketing directors live by. It indicates that there’s always an ideal time to introduce an idea or perform an action, in order to maximize an intended effect.
In many areas, when one’s timing is off, the likelihood of success is diminished.
“God’s perfect timing” is an aspect of divine sovereignty. In God’s perfect timing, He only acts when it is optimal for what He wants to accomplish in His kingdom. In His omniscience, the Lord sees everything that is going on in the world in any given moment of time—which involves trillions of details that only the Spirit of God can fully grasp.
In the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon says, “He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). What does this mean, especially in regard to God’s perfect timing?
The declaration that God has made everything beautiful in its time is preceded by one of the most famous passages in Scripture:
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
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 from embracing,
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” (Ecclesiastes 3:1–8).
In 1965, the folk rock band The Byrds recorded a song, “Turn! Turn! Turn!” that used a portion of this passage and helped contribute to its recognition in pop culture.
Solomon follows his catalog of human experience with the statement that God, in His sovereignty, has made everything beautiful in its time. That is, He optimizes the outcome of all things, both what He has made and the products of mankind’s activity—even the more challenging aspects of human suffering. He does this in a way that is not only glorifying to Him but healing to those who look to Him for peace, purpose, and salvation. In the words of commentator Joseph Benson, God will work all things out “so that, all things considered, it could not have been better” (Commentary on the Old and New Testaments).
There are a multitude of scriptural passages that indicate the perfection and beauty of God’s timing:
“When the set time was fully come, God sent His son” (Galatians 4:4). Jesus introduced his ministry with the words, “The time has come” (Mark 1:15). And we have the promise that “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28, NLT; see also Genesis 21:2; Isaiah 46:10; 60:22; Habakkuk 2:3; Matthew 24:36; 26:18; John 7:6; 2 Corinthians 6:2; Ephesians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:1; 1 Peter 5:6–7; 2 Peter 3:8; Revelation 1:1).
From a human perspective, God’s timing often does not seem perfect, and it’s hard to see how the events of the world can ever be made “beautiful.” Consider the disappointed reactions of Mary and Martha when Jesus arrived four days after their brother died—after He deliberately delayed His arrival (John 11:1–44).
We are admonished repeatedly in the Bible to “wait on the Lord” (e.g., Psalm 27:14; Hebrews 6:15). Peter tells us to not forget that “with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness” (2 Peter 3:8). If we are patient and wait on the Lord, we will eventually see the beauty of God’s handiwork—all in His perfect timing. (Quote source here.)
So, how can we know what God’s timing is? GotQuestions.org supplies the answer to this question, too:
The first thing we need to understand about God’s timing is that it is perfect, just as all of God’s ways are perfect (Psalm 18:30; Galatians 4:4). God’s timing is never early, and it’s never been late. In fact, from before our birth until the moment we take our last earthly breath, our sovereign God is accomplishing His divine purposes in our lifetimes. He is in complete control of everything and everyone from everlasting to everlasting. No event in history has put so much as a wrinkle in the timing of God’s eternal plan, which He designed before the foundation of the world.
One would think, then, that by understanding the sovereignty of our Creator, patience and waiting would come a little more easily. Unfortunately, however, that’s not always the case. Our human nature can make waiting for God’s perfect timing a difficult thing to do. In fact, in the hustle and bustle of our frenzied lives, we often find it difficult to wait for anything or anyone. We want what we want now. And with our modern technological advances, we’re often able to get what we want now. As a result, we are not only losing our patience, but also finding it increasingly difficult to discern God’s timing.
Patience is a spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22), and Scripture makes it clear that God is pleased with us when we display this virtue: “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7), for God is good to those who wait for Him (Lamentations 3:25). And our patience often reveals the degree of trust we have in God’s timing. We must remember that God operates according to His perfect and foreordained eternal schedule, not ours. We should take great comfort in knowing that, when we wait on the LORD, we receive divine energy and strength: “But those who wait on the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). The psalmist reiterates: “Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!” (Psalm 27:14).
Another key to understanding God’s timing is trust. In fact, our ability to wait on the Lord is largely related to how much we trust Him. When we trust in God with all of our heart, forgoing reliance on our own, often erroneous understanding of circumstances, He will indeed give us direction (Proverbs 3:5-6). “The LORD’s unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts Him” (Psalm 32:10). To fully trust God, however, we need to know God. And the best way to know Him is through His Word. God’s divine energy is released in our lives through His inspired Word (1 Thessalonians 2:13). The work of God’s Word includes saving (Romans 10:17; 1 Peter 1:23), teaching and training (2 Timothy 3:16-17), guiding (Psalm 119:105), protecting (Psalm 119:114,117), strengthening (Psalm 119:28), and making us wise (Psalm 119:97-100). If we study and meditate on His Word daily, His timing will also become clear to us.
When we question God’s timing, it is often because we are looking for guidance or deliverance from a difficult situation. We can rest assured, however, that our heavenly Father knows exactly where we are in our lives at every moment. He either put us there or is allowing us to be there, all for His own perfect purpose. In fact, God often uses trials to strengthen our patience, allowing our Christian faith to mature and become complete (James 1:3-4). And we know that all things–including these difficult trials–work out for the good of those who love God (Romans 8:28). God does indeed hear the cries of His children and will answer those cries according to His perfect will and timing. “A righteous man may have many troubles; the LORD delivers him from them all” (Psalm 34:19). The plans God has for His children are good plans–to help us, not hurt us (Jeremiah 29:11). (Quote source here.)
As I look back over my life which as of my last birthday a few weeks ago has now reached 70 years, I can honestly say that most of the things I thought I wanted and was, in fact, waiting on God’s timing for never did materialize (for example–marriage and children), and some of the things that I hoped for that did materialize did not have a happy ending, but some did have a happy ending, too, like my doctoral fellowship year spent at a university in South Florida back in 1992-93. Does that mean I’ve been wrong in some of my desires that didn’t happen or end well? No, not necessarily. What I have learned by those things not coming my way or not working out in the way I had hoped for has taught me a lot about how God works in our individual lives. God’s guidance and timing are intricately woven into each of us in very specific ways (read Psalm 139:1-18; 23-24), and we should never compare our life and circumstances with anyone else’s life and circumstances.
One last article I want to include in this post is an article published on April 30, 2021, in the Carroll County Times, and it is titled, “God’s Timing is Perfect and He Has the Final Say,” by the Rev. Bill Thomas, Lead Pastor at Hereford United Methodist Church. He writes:
Have you ever been through a crisis? Maybe you’re going through one now.
There are three important lessons we can learn in John 11 about how to hang on in times of crisis. Jesus gets word that his friend Lazarus is critically ill. Much to his disciple’s astonishment, Jesus doesn’t run to heal him, but stays for two days before leaving. When Jesus arrived in Bethany, home of Lazarus and his two sisters, He learns that Lazarus died four days earlier.
Lesson 1: God’s timing is always perfect.
God’s never early, never late, but always on time. Our timing isn’t God’s timing. For us, God’s timing often feels like a long, desperate delay.
God’s perfect timing does two things: It grows our faith as we are forced to wait and trust in God and it makes certain that He, and He alone, gets the glory and praise for pulling us through. “My times are in Your hands…” Psalm 31:15
At the right time, God will provide your need. At the right time, God will deliver you. At the right time, God will rescue you.
At the RIGHT time. His time!
Lesson 2: God’s ways are not our ways.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
God has eternal perspective! God is the great “I AM” (Yahweh) who knows the past, present and future. And what do we know? Nothing really. Nothing compared to God. If I were Jesus, I would’ve healed Lazarus right away. But Jesus wanted to stretch the faith of His disciples who after His death would be the catalysts to taking the message of Christ to the world. They knew Jesus had the power to heal people—but to raise a 4-day-old corpse? Come on, that’s taking faith to a whole new level.
Knowing that God’s ways aren’t my ways means I have to put all my faith and trust in His ways.
Lesson 3: God always has the final say.
No matter how terrible and impossible the situation appears, how awful you feel, or how there appears to be no answer, no help, no hope, God will see you through because He and He alone has the final say.
We put periods in our lives where God puts commas. We think it’s over, period: Our marriages, our families, our jobs, our health, our futures. But God puts a comma in those places because it’s not over until He says it’s over.
Lazarus was dead and decaying for four days in that tomb. That’s more than a period, that’s an exclamation mark! But it wasn’t over. God put a comma in that place. And Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, his organs functioning, the rotting skin is made new again.
And Jesus will take what has died in you and raise it from the dead! He will see us through the crisis, not just barely surviving, but victorious. Victors, not victims. Champions, not chumps. Winners, not whiners. Stop putting periods where God puts commas.
The world put a period after Jesus’s crucifixion and death. But God always has the last say. On the third day, Sunday morning, God raised Jesus from the dead and He’s alive! “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?… But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 15:55-57
Because of Jesus Christ, death and the grave no longer have the last say in our lives. Jesus has the last say. And because He lives, if you trust in Him and put your lives in His hands, you’re going to live too! (Quote source here.)
I’ll end this post with the words from David found in Psalm 27:13-14: I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living…
Wait for the Lord . . .
Be strong and take heart . . .
And wait for the Lord . . . .
YouTube Video: “Right On Time” by Aaron Cole (feat. TobyMac):
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