I’ve come to the conclusion that there are really only two kinds of people in the world: “early people” and “late people.”
I am of the “late person” persuasion. You know, the kind that ALWAYS gets stuck in traffic; the one who spills coffee all down his front and has to somehow find time to change clothes; the kind upon whom everyone else is always waiting (unless, of course, these are other “late people” who simply congratulate you for showing up at all).
When I am late for something especially important, I am sometimes tempted to pray, “Please, Lord, let someone else be later than me.” Generally, if people are still there when I finally arrive and are still on speaking terms with me, I write the journey off as a success.
Early people, on the other hand, always arrive at least 15 minutes early to everything. This is extremely stressful for “late people” who are having “early people” over and must frantically try to get everything ready (knowing they don’t have the thirty extra minutes they would have if “late people” were coming over to visit). Fortunately, my wife is an “early person” so I’ve not had so much of a problem with this since we’ve been married, although my tendency for lateness is something of a thorn in her side at times.
Of course, all this leads us to the fact that “early people” are often aggravated with “late people” because of the constant delays. Thus, lateness is often associated with apathy. Just to set the record straight for all you “early people” out there: we “late people” aren’t necessarily apathetic; we’re just… hmm… late.
God, however, seems to me to be in a class all by Himself. He’s neither a “late Person”, nor is He an “early Person”. He’s ON TIME.
God never moves before or after His appointed time. Some examples include His not giving Abraham the son of promise (Genesis 21:2, Hebrews 11:8-12); His not bringing the children of Israel out of Egypt (Genesis 15:13, Exodus 12:40-42); His not bringing them into Canaan (Numbers 14:33-34, Joshua 3-4); His not allowing His temple to be built (1 Chronicles 17:11-12, 2 Chronicles 6:10-11); and His not having His people released from Babylon (Ezra 1:1-4) UNTIL it was the right time for each of these things to happen.
Neither did He send His Son, Jesus, into the world until it was the right time. Isn’t it marvelous to see how God works? In His great economy He knew exactly when to do what He had planned! It was just the right time for the Savior to be born in that stable one night over two thousand years ago! It was just the right time for Him to come and reveal the love of the Father for the world as He taught, healed and ministered. Even His crucifixion was perfectly timed. All the conditions were ripe; all the players were in place for God’s great drama to unfold. He was neither late nor early in carrying out His plan!
“For while we were still weak, AT THE RIGHT TIME Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6 ESV). What an appropriate reflection for us to dwell upon in the faster-than-light speed of life today!
In practical application, for a person who seeks to walk with God in a love relationship with Him through faith in His Son, this also means that whatever God is doing in one’s life right now, he or she has no need to fear that His timing will be off. In His great economy, He STILL knows exactly when to do what He has planned. His timing is ALWAYS right as He works out His plan for you.
Although His timing is always right, OUR patience generally needs a great deal of fine-tuning! Please know that God is so interested in you that He will at times deliberately “delay” events in your life in order to “maximize” His fruit in you. Our Father knows what He’s doing, how best to do it and how to time things just right. And although He isn’t likely to consult us about our own plans and probably won’t ask permission to interrupt our agendas, that’s okay, isn’t it? He IS Lord after all.
Pastor Thom Mollohan leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.