(This is an article I wrote for the Fall 2012 edition of wec.go magazine.)
God is never late. Yet, He is usually not early. He has impeccably perfect timing. I have seen this many times in my life. One morning several years ago, I awoke to find that my refrigerator was dying. My husband and I prayed for God to provide another one. That morning, I attended a Bible study class. One of my classmates mentioned that she had an extra refrigerator in her basement that she wanted to give away. My husband gratefully picked it up later that day.
Recently, I had a day when I couldn’t stop thinking about my faults. While driving home, I prayed that God would help me take my eyes off myself and put them onto Him. I asked Him to remind me of His love for me. When I got home, I looked through the day’s mail, which included one envelope with no return address. I opened it and was literally reduced to tears by what I saw. The card stated, “One of the nicest things in the world is knowing someone cares. If it helps to know someone cares, I do.” It was signed “Your Heavenly Father.” I would have been thrilled to receive the card any time. But I was overwhelmed to receive it that day. I don’t believe it was a coincidence that the note arrived then. What an awesome and personal God we serve!
Many people have had similar experiences. Wendy used to work with children in crisis in Brakpan, South Africa. The area was very dusty in the dry season and muddy when it rained. There was no electricity or running water in the homes, no sewage system or garbage collection. One day, as Wendy arrived home from working with the children, she noticed how dirty, dusty and smelly she was. Her clothes were stained from holding children who had runny noses and messy hands and who were not wearing diapers. Looking in the mirror and laughing at her condition, she asked God if she would ever look or smell like a woman again. Much to her delight, a package arrived that day—one that had been mailed months before and should have reached her earlier. It contained bubble bath, fragrant soap, lotions and perfumes. Wendy says, “I had to laugh again at the goodness and miraculous timing of the Lord!”
Sometimes God’s perfect timing is not just to delight His children—it literally saves lives. A pastor from El Salvador was kidnapped by gang members who mistook him for someone else. The gang members tortured him, and finally decided to kill him. The pastor cried out to the Lord for help. Just as the leader pulled out a machete, his cell phone rang. He learned that this truly was the wrong man! He set the pastor free, warning him to run away as fast as he could.
At other times God’s timing provides our daily bread—or our daily pizza and donuts. Patty was familiar with the Los Angeles freeway system. But one Saturday she found herself making several wrong turns. She took an exit ramp and stopped at a red light. While waiting, she noticed an unkempt man sitting on the curb. Grabbing the boxes of leftover pizza and donuts sitting on the seat next to her, she offered them to the man. He limped toward her, shocked by her generosity, and gratefully accepted the food. Patty said, “May the Lord bless you.” He looked astonished, placed his hand on his chest and emphatically replied, “Oh, He already has! Thank you! You have no idea what this means!” As Patty drove away, she could hear him shouting “Thank you” repeatedly. She realized that she had not been going the wrong direction after all. God had arranged this appointment.
God’s perfect timing is also shown to children. Jonathan was a young boy who wanted to go to soccer camp but his parents did not have the money for enrollment. His family prayed about the need. Several days later they received an envelope in the mail containing $100 – exactly the amount needed. No message was attached, and the envelope was postmarked from a town where they did not know anyone. Jonathan was thrilled! He had often seen God provide for his family, but this time was for him alone! Off to camp he went.
The next time you find that things aren’t going as you planned, take time to thank God for what He is planning to do—in His perfect timing!