The God of Perfect Timing by Ray Haynes
A mother slowly fed her children the last scraps of food in the house. The Siberian winter was as painful as the hunger. Her pastor husband had been arrested and then disappeared into the Russian gulags, while the family was shipped to Siberia. Between small bites, the children asked longingly when their daddy would come home, as they wondered aloud about their future. Their mother kneeled to pray with them, assuring them that their heavenly Father was near and faithful to supply for them.
Many miles away, the Holy Spirit woke up a local deacon and told him to gather food and take it to the family. The deacon was hesitant and tried to explain to God the dangers of the bitter cold, the darkness, and the wolves that stalked the forest at night. He pleaded with God to let him stay home, I’ll never make it back.” To which the Holy Spirit replied, “You don’t have to come back. You just have to go.” He did go, and the story of the deacon is still told today by both families, because he also made it back.
I find myself almost daily waiting on “things” to happen, progress to be made, solutions to be presented, provision to come through, and so many other issues of life that never stop. It doesn’t take much of this pressure to turn our prayers into pleading.
Psalms 27:14 tells us, “Wait on the LORD; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the LORD!” We’re not commanded to wait on any “thing”; we are commanded to wait on God. The good news is since God is our provider, He will arrive with whatever “things” we need in the timing He deems as right.
Abram and his barren wife Sarai had spent a lifetime waiting for a son to arrive, that years later still hadn’t. In Genesis 15:1 God says, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” God reminded him that the “son” wasn’t who they should be waiting on. God was their source and their constant great reward.
The hope of having our needs met is always exciting, but the reality of encountering God bringing us what we need should stir up our faith. We must train our souls to focus on Him and wait on Him.
We can’t allow ourself to be distracted from our worship and overcome with anxiety from focusing on earthly issues. God doesn’t usually clarify or fill in all the details when He tells us to do something. He shares just enough information to require faith to go, do, obey, and wait.
In John chapter 4, we meet a woman drawing water at a well in the heat of the day when she encounters Jesus, who strikes up a conversation. She had been waiting through five marriages for her life to become something special, but it just never did. His words awakened her dreams so greatly that she ran back to town to tell anyone she could find, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”
In truth, Jesus hadn’t told her everything; He only told her that she had been married five times and was currently living with another man. But He could tell that in her mind, those things summed up her life; her failures were all she could see. It’s the lie the devil constantly whispers in our ears: we are a failure, we are flawed. Eventually our failures and flaws become everything and then define us. The criticisms of others become louder than the voice of the Holy Spirit patiently building us up. Her life story, without Jesus, was meaningless and sad, but after their brief encounter she left her water pot behind, and her forlorn life with it.
Psalm 84:4-7 encourages us, “…Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage. As they pass through the Valley of Baca [weeping], they make it a spring; The rain also covers it with pools.” When we have our heart set on pilgrimage, we go through experiences that may feel like a desert; there is weeping, but our weeping has a purpose. It creates a spring which is able to refresh us and others that pass that way. The words of Jesus broke open the reservoir inside of the woman while she was literally sitting beside a well, and helped her become a greater spring with living pools that refreshed the entire town.
Revelation 7:17 reminds us that our Shepherd’s plan and His timing both work for our good. “For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘He will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”