"God has His timing" is a phrase not at all unfamiliar in the life of a growing Christian. We often use it to bring comfort and as a reminder of God’s sovereign plan when we cannot easily see His hand in our lives or His answers to our fervent prayers. If a job search is being elongated, if a loved one’s sickness is being prolonged, or if much needed funds are not being provided, we calm our hearts and bring peace to our souls with those four words, "God has His timing."
The reason this brings so much peace and assurance in anxious times may be because we begin to see our situation through the eyes of God. We begin to realize that there is a much bigger picture that God has lovingly and purposefully painted that has our very best in mind, as well as the good of those around us. Throughout our walk with the Lord, it becomes invariably clear that our lives are fully in His hands. We see ever more clearly that we are incapable, but He is fully capable.
We finally reach a point in our lives where we realize nothing happens outside of God’s plan, and no situation has an outcome that was not part of God’s plan. Granted, there are times that our sinfulness and our shortcomings cause us to interfere a bit with God’s perfect purpose, but He is fully capable of turning those mistakes around and working them back into good. In Romans 8:28 it says, "And we know that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love Him …" (emphasis my own). Nowhere does it say, "except when you mess up" or "except under these conditions."
If we are willing to grow to trust God’s control completely in daily occurrences within our physical life, why can we not grow to trust God’s control in our spiritual life as well? There have been times in my own life where I have prayed fervently for God to change a flaw in my character or to teach me a lesson in a certain virtue that I lacked. It seemed God did not answer my prayers immediately or in the fashion I was expecting.
Several situations brought me to my knees, posing questions probably similar to ones you have asked. Why was I not changing or growing? Why was this certain flaw not fading away, and why was this particular virtue not being established in my character? The answer appears most clearly in Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 11, "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven … He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."
Just as God has His own perfect timing in our daily physical lives, He also promises His own perfect timing in our spiritual growth. If we do not develop a certain virtue or conquer a certain flaw when we think we should, it very well may be that God has a better time for those things to develop. Maybe a certain person will be inspired or witnessed to if that virtue is developed at a later time, or maybe that flaw will be conquered more effectively in a different situation.
It’s pretty well established that we are useless without God. With Him, our lives have purpose. We can do nothing apart from Him, and conversely, we can do all things with Him (Philippians 4:13). So if this applies to our daily lives, it should even more so apply to our spiritual lives. We cannot grow, mature or change our sinful natures without His empowering us to do so. Therefore, He is as much in control of our spiritual growth as He is of our daily lives, which can only mean He must have a better plan and timing than our own with that as well.
I want to encourage all believers to begin praying fervently for increased faith in their spiritual growth as well as their daily lives. When we seek God more in this area, just as in any other area, He is faithful to respond … in His own timing, of course. If it does not happen immediately, don’t worry. Rather, "[be] confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." (Philippians 1:6).[Tiffany Chow is a student who also writes and works for Skratch magazine out of Orange County, Southern Calif.]
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