OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #297 But Do We Pray for Timing?
This week we’ll turn our clocks ahead. It’s a good thing it happens on a Sunday and not a Monday. We might arrive at work at the wrong time instead of walking into church in the middle of the sermon. What a feeling to realize that we’re out of synch with the rest of the world. We got up, prepared, and planned to arrive at church with a little time to spare, only to discover we’re an hour off.
Timing is important. I hate it when I’ve got a good joke, and then blow the punch line. In skeet shooting, it is important to lead the target or the timing will be off. The shot will go ahead of, or behind, the clay instead of hitting the mark. When my boys became teens I had to learn when it was the right time to talk to them. Too early in the morning, and the response is a grunt. I usually wait for them to say something first.
Timing is important in both temporal and spiritual matters, and Jesus was the master. After his mother told him about running out of wine at the wedding in Cana, Jesus responded, “My time has not yet come” (Jn 2:4). When his disciples wanted Jesus to go up to Jerusalem and show himself as a public figure, he delayed because “...the right time has not yet come” (7:6-8,14). Later, the crowds tried to seize Jesus to kill him, but they were hindered because the timing wasn’t right (7:30; 8:20). When a group of “Greeks” arrived asking to see Jesus, it was a sign: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (12:23; 13:1). On the night before his crucifixion, he prayed, “Father, the time has come” (17:1).
It is a scary thought that the best of ideas – the redemption of all humanity through the death and resurrection of Jesus – could have been deflected and derailed because of bad timing. If it was so for Jesus, how much more so for us....
Good timing makes our intentions possible, while poor timing can turn even a good idea into a disaster. We might not be ready. The proper preparation may not have happened. The right conditions might not be present. The necessary resources and support may not be in place.
As I write, Jan is away with Mark for the March break, and it is very tempting to start some of the work we hope to do in our kitchen this year. We want to take out a wall and replace the old plywood cupboards, along with fixing the holes in the ceiling from our plumbing repair last fall. I’m itchy to open up the wall, but I know I’m not quite ready to do the job and we won’t have the money until after our tax refund. We’d have a big mess for months, which would frustrate Jan, and I don’t want that for her.
While this is a relatively simple example, I can think of more critical situations which require the best possible timing – when to launch a new program, tackle a tough issue, or have a difficult conversation with someone. Definitely, we should wait to discern God’s timing for when (and if) we ought to speak with someone if we are upset or hurt.
This is where prayer comes in. We often (I hope) pray for God to lead us and bless us in our plans. But less often, in my experience, do we pray that we understand God’s timing.
Last fall when I was hunting, I got a shot off on a duck that sprang from the bank. Water sprayed and I was sure I had hit my target, but when the air cleared the bird was heading for the skies. Because my timing was off, all I had done was make a lot of noise. I don’t want the same thing to happen with my plans. Timing is everything.
I hope this helps. Be on fire.
OnFire is a biweekly letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis. This letter published Mar 7, 2013. Troy is the Pastor of Next Generations and Connections at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. Scripture taken from New International Version, 1984. To subscribe or reply, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Archives are located at www.onfireletter.com. Blog located at www.onfireletter.blogspot.com