I have always known that I am a very impatient man. I think I was born that way. As a child I never wanted to wait for anything. I remember the anxiety and impatience I had as eight year old boy because I had to wait another year for my first bicycle since Santa “didn’t have room on his sleigh” that year. Those closest to me, including my parents, my wife, our son and my siblings know very well of my impatience and have rightfully told me about it so many times over the years.
The vocational work that I performed for over forty-five years in the Information Technology field was stressful and built around deadlines and often resulted in severe penalties when those deadlines were not met. So my profession fit well with my type “A” personality. As a leader, I required those on my project teams to set goals, determine specific and real requirements, develop and stick to realistic timelines, complete the effort in the agreed upon time-frame, and then develop lessons learned to improve the quality of the next project. I must admit that I sometimes thought of myself as a person who could make things happen … someone with a special ability to deliver as agreed upon and in the time-frame promised.
Looking back on my life now, I expected just about everything to happen “in my time”, not just the work related projects, but just about everything in my personal life as well. Over the past eighteen months as I have dealt with significant health issues for the first time in my life. I have come to realize that my view of time and God’s view of time don’t always line up very well. I want these medical issues to be behind me, but they continue and have impacted me in such a way that I now faithfully realize that they are in God’s hands and He will deal with them “in His time.”
As a younger man I often prayed that God would give me wisdom and patience. Most of those prayers were genuinely earnest. But some were prayed with deep set reservations and even sometimes in a selfish demanding manner similar to the comical prayer that goes something like: “Lord, please give me patience … and give it to me right now!”
This brings me to the point of this article … namely, God alone is in control of time!!! Time is His. He does things “in His time.” God was there before time was established. God was there at creation and He created everything “in His time.” God was there when He led the Amorite Abraham away from His home in Ur to the place God chose “in His time.” God was there when He led his chosen children out of Egypt into the promised-land “in His time.” God was there when David killed Goliath and when he was crowned King of Israel “in His time. God was there when He allowed Israel and Judah’s enemies to devastate their homeland, kill their mighty warriors and force most of those remaining alive into bondage “in His time.” God was there when He sent Jesus to be born of a non-descript virgin girl ‘in His time.” God was there when Jesus was crucified “in His time.” God was there when Jesus was raised from the dead and conquered sin and death once and for all “in His time. God was there when Jesus ascended back into Heaven “in His time.” God has promised that Jesus will again return to this earth to claim His chosen ones “in His time.” I’m sure you get the point!
Ecclesiastes 3:1-11 (KJV) – focus on verse 11.
1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. 9What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth? 10I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it. 11He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.
The above scripture passage comes from the Book of Ecclesiastes. The Chronological Study Bible (TCSB) of The New King James Version of the Bible published by Thomas Nelson describes Ecclesiastes as a “bleak and weary” book focused on the inability of man to understand the inexplicable mysteries of life. The overall thesis, “…All is vanity” (Ecc. 1:2) permeates the entire book. At the very end of the book, the Preacher finally seems “to make peace with his world and his God” (Ecc. 12:13-14 NASB): 13 The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. 14 For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.
But there is really a scriptural gem found in Ecclesiastes 3:11 (KJV) – “11 He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” I like the translation for the last part of verse 11 as presented in the NIV: 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Why should I expect things to happen in my time? My time may be the wrong time. Only God knows the right time! When things happen “in His (God’s) time” every thing is beautiful. Who am I to think that I know when it is best for things to happen? God ordained time. He, and He alone, is in control of time. Who am I to think that I have the human ability to reason beyond God’s instruction in the Bible to “fathom” what God has done, is doing, and will do to accomplish His ultimate purpose. God wrote our life instruction manual, the Bible. It is His perfect and infallible Word. It is without error. Nothing ever happens in His time early or late. It is always in accordance with what is “in His time.” He’s an on-time God! Every time!!
I am encouraged by my recent medical hardships to allow God to also be the God of all comfort for me personally and to my friends and Christian brothers and sisters. Paul said to those new Christian converts in the city of Corinth in 2 Corinthians 1:3 (NIV) – “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” I will look to Him in His time, and to Him alone, for that deep comfort, the inner healing and the encouragement to continue my earthly life journey and share God’s message with as many as I can before I join those already in eternity.
Paul also encouraged the church at Phillipi saying “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13) NIV.
Are you as hard-headed as I am? Are you listening to the plain word of God? The children of Israel didn’t. In their own time they allowed the worship of other gods such as Baal to replace the worship of the one and only true Jehovah God. In the midst of their wayward lives, God’s prophet Jeremiah using God’s own words continually reminded Israel that they had repeatedly taken things into their own hands: “While you were doing all these things, declares the Lord, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you but you did not answer” (Jeremiah 7:13 NIV).
God said through Paul in Galatians 4:4-7 (NIV) that He sent his son Jesus into the world to pay the price for man’s sin when the time was right. It was “in His time.” “4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba,Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.”
I find this verse particularly comforting in my recent stressful times: Psalm 69:13 (NIV) – “But I pray to you, Lord, in the time of Your favor; in Your great love, O God, answer me with Your sure salvation.” But at the same time, I realize that God has a purpose in my mortal travail and that “in His time” and when I humble myself, that only He has the strong and mighty hand to lift me up. Peter spoke to this as well in 1 Peter 5:6 (NIV) when he said “Humble Yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”
The Maranatha Singers have recorded a wonderful version of a song written by Diane Ball in 1978. The lyrics are provided below and are the property of Maranatha! Music. This is one of those songs like “Thank You Lord for Saving My Soul” that will keep running through your mind over and over once you hear it. I was exposed to it many years ago, but it has recently come back to my mind and I could not get past the message.
In His Time
In His time, in His time
He makes all things beautiful in His time
Lord, please show me every day
As You’re teaching me Your way
And I’ll do just what You say
In Your time.
In Your time, in Your time
You make all things beautiful in Your time
Lord, my life to You I bring
May each song I have to sing
Be to You a lovely thing
In Your time
Be to You a lovely thing
In Your time.
I can’t think of a more fitting way to end this article than for you to view a couple of videos of this song by going to these youtube links. Both will allow you to sing or hum along.
Video one with beautiful scenes of God’s nature set to the music with lyrics.
Video two with scripture and lyrics: