December 28, 2020
When You Don’t Understand God’s Timing
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“God has given them a desire to know the future. He does everything just right and on time, but people can never completely understand what he is doing.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NCV)
We were curled up on the couch on a long-ago December day when my daughter announced her secret Christmas wish.
“I just want our baby to be here on Christmas morning,” 5-year-old Hannah confided. She exhaled a wistful sigh, then patted my belly.
Hannah had been rehearsing all things “big sister” for months. She’d practiced burping her teddy bears, swaddling her baby dolls, singing lullabies to the dog and tiptoeing past the crib. And as the baby beneath my heart grew, Hannah’s anticipation did too.
“You’re going to be a great big sister,” I said with a smile, “but it’s not time yet.” I waggled eight fingers in the air to remind my little girl of the weeks that remained until my due date.
Suddenly Hannah’s shoulders drooped. “But, Mommy! I want to be a big sister now.” Her eyes clouded with tears and her sighs turned to sobs. For a child whose life is measured in moments rather than days, the delay felt agonizing.
“Waiting hurts,” she murmured as she buried her head in my lap.
I could have lifted Hannah’s chin and tried to explain all the logical reasons for the wait. I could have offered a science lesson on human development or a lecture on the value of patience.
But instead of trying to expound on things beyond my kindergartener’s understanding, I simply reminded her that we can trust God with the timing of our baby’s arrival. Then I wrapped my arms around my daughter and held her as she cried.
It’s been over a decade since my daughter climbed onto my lap with a stream of troubled tears and an ill-timed Christmas wish. But this morning, when I scan the pages of my prayer journal, I feel the ache of waiting too.
My journal holds candid conversations with God about unfulfilled promises and unanswered prayers. And as I sit with my hopes and hurts today, I feel a surge of indignation. I’ll admit: It’s easy to feel offended in the midst of delay.
But I’m learning that when God’s timing doesn’t match my pining, I need to focus on what I know rather than what I feel. So, I turn to Ecclesiastes 3:11 and read the words of King Solomon:
“God has given [us] a desire to know the future. He does everything just right and on time, but people can never completely understand what he is doing.”
This verse helps me filter my frustration through God’s unchanging truth. It reminds me that my delays aren’t a sign of God’s indifference, but an expression of His wisdom. I’ll never fully understand the complexities of God’s eternal plan while I’m bound to the dust of earth. But I can place my hope in God’s integrity even when I can’t comprehend His itinerary.
When my hope is tied to God’s trustworthiness instead of His timing, it changes my attitude in the waiting.
I am prone to recall His faithfulness instead of questioning His fairness. (Psalm 77:11)
I am able to respect His wisdom instead of disputing His ways.
I am inclined to celebrate His majesty instead of second-guessing His motives.
But, best of all, when I place the crux of my faith on the trustworthiness of God’s character, I discover an unexpected gift in the grit of delay.
The same God who is orchestrating plans too marvelous for my mind to grasp is within my reach right now. His ways may be higher than the heavens, (Isaiah 55:9) but His presence is as near as my next breath. He is with me in the aching and anticipating. He comforts me with His Spirit and strengthens me with His love. Even when it hurts. Especially when it hurts.
Dear Jesus, I know Your timing is perfect, but my faith is not. Help me to trust You more. I want to experience Your nearness in my waiting and Your comfort in my aching. Help me to recognize Your presence today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 131:1-3, “O LORD, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, hope in the Lord from this time forth and forevermore.” (ESV)
Do you find yourself increasingly agitated with someone in your life who continues to frustrate you even after you’ve forgiven them? Do the ongoing patterns of behavior in their life make it difficult to move forward? Do you feel like you have to continuously work through things and forgive them again and again? Discover the steps you've been missing that could solve the relational chaos in your life in our next Online Bible Study, Forgiving What You Can't Forget by Lysa TerKeurst. The study starts January 19, 2021. Click here to sign up!
Visit Alicia at her blog today if you need prayer in the waiting.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What keeps you from trusting God’s timing? Turn Psalm 131:1-3 into your prayer today.
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© 2020 by Alicia Bruxvoort. All rights reserved.