When I began trying to teach my son how to hit a baseball this year, onlookers would have thought either I was Nolan Ryan or my son was destined to break the all-time strikeout record. It was the greatest effort in futility I had witnessed in some time. What made such a frustrating moment for me was the fact I knew how to hit a baseball, but teaching someone else who has to learn for themselves is a different story. He had all the mechanics correct, but the little fellow couldn’t seem to even touch a ball. After better than a hundred swings, I could see the disappointment and discouragement written all over his face and demeanor. I decided it was in his best interest to give it a rest and try again another day. The next day, I made one slight adjustment to his swing. I asked him to count to three before swinging once I released the ball. Suddenly, he began to hit like a seasoned veteran. He looked at me with eyes filled with pride and said, “Daddy, it was all in the timing.”
We have all heard the phrase, “being in the right place at the right time.” It gives the idea that luck made its way into your pathway. However, in the economy of God, luck plays no factor in our lives. It is all about His timing. Understanding the Lord’s timing is one of the most difficult disciplines to apply in our lives. Scripture refers to God’s timing as “the fullness of time,” “due season,” and “time is fulfilled.” These scriptures are speaking of our lives being in Divine order where every piece and part are working in harmony. Around each bend in life, there are open doors and closed doors. Over each horizon, there are opportunities and risks. Many choose at such junctures based on “hunches,” “feelings,” and the planets being in alignment. How can you discern the signs as the timing of the Lord in your life?
The timing of the Lord is a peaceful assurance. When Jonah ran from his calling to go to Nineveh, we are told “..he found a ship going to Tarshish.” On the surface, one would gather the idea it was perfect timing for Jonah. However, the word “found” means “to attain, acquire.” Jonah manipulated the timing which only proved to be a counterfeit. Perhaps Charles Swindoll said it best concerning the timing of God, “when God is in it, it flows; when God is not, it is forced.” Many of the storms that have found their way into our pathway came not by God’s providence as much as they came by our presumption. This is not to say that the will of God will not come with obstacles or difficulty. But, when the timing of God meets the will of God there is a spiritual vacuum that allows you to walk peacefully amidst the swirl.
The timing of the Lord is a prepared appointment. In Luke 22, Jesus was forewarning Peter of a coming sifting that would separate Simon from Peter. In his youthful exuberance, Peter answered, “Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both to prison and to death.” Peter meant that with all the sincerity of his heart, but he was neither ready nor willing to go…today. The word “ready” meant he was “fit and adjusted.” He made the mistake we are all prone to make; trying to convince God of his readiness when God knew he was not. To step through a door prematurely in life is to discover a place where our character cannot sustain us. Peter tried, and failed miserably. You can rest assured, the timing of the Lord will always match our readiness. Our readiness is determined by whether we would use the opportunity for our self or for the Lord. Peter said he would die for the Lord. In God’s prepared timing, he did. Peter had visions of sitting on a throne. In God’s prepared timing, he will.
The timing of the Lord is a preserving affirmation. Whether it be to rescue a Paul in a basket lowered from a window, or to place an Esther on a throne, the Lord knows the perfect time to slip us out or slide us in. In a word, it is always right! God’s timing is a small window of achievable opportunity, but it comes with confirmation to move on our part. David had the shot arrow of Jonathan. The spies had Rahab’s scarlet cord. Jesus had Greeks seeking to see Him, then He said, “the hour is come.” His delays are not denials, but rather a timed arrival of His affirmation. God’s timepiece is not kept by seconds or minutes. It is gauged by principles and promises.
It is so difficult to understand the Lord’s timing. There are days He appears to move too slowly. There are other days He startles me with His swiftness. In His timing, life leads us from testing, to tears, to triumph. It is no accident where you are today. More than likely, you were placed there perfectly “for such a time as this…”
© Alan Stewart, 2005.
Alan Stewart: Dr. Alan Stewart has served as Senior Pastor of Rechoboth Baptist since December 1999. He attended The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Moody Bible Institute, Covington Theological Seminary, and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary.
Prior to pastoring the Tennessee church, Alan was an evangelist for 15 years. He has preached revivals/pastor’s conferences in Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland. He also preached crusades/conferences in India, Hungary, and conducted a crusade in South Africa in August of 2009. Pastor Alan is married to Jeanne, and they are blessed with two children – Sierra and Seth.