God’s timing is perfect, I know that, and I hope you do that too. Yet sometimes his timing seems a little bit off to us when we want God to answer our “now prayers” or when we hear the news of an unexpected loss of work, of an untimely illness or sadly, of sudden death.
The biblical understanding of time is something that we articulate in our everyday life. When we believe God’s timing is perfect, we are saying that God is in control and sovereign over all things he has created. The truth is that God is outside time; he is timeless: God is eternal. Yet he has set this world and our lives within a time frame.
This is clear from the words written in Ecclesiastes “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1–8 NLT-SE).
I learnt something about God’s timing when I was in Brazil on board the Logos 2 Ship. The ship was in the Port of Santos, a three-hour drive from Sao Pablo, a big city in Brazil and Latin America. This was my first assignment as part of the Line-up Team. These teams were responsible for organising the ship visits to different ports. My destination was the port city of El Salvador which is in the North of Brazil. My flight was scheduled in the afternoon at about 3 pm, and it was a four-hour flight. Many of my friends came to say goodbye, and I was leaving my ship family for three months.
I boarded the bus, and I sat on the front seat; it was an unforgettable journey that I will never forget for the wrong reasons. The bus ticket was booked with enough time to get me to the airport. I was travelling alone, with my rucksack and my guitar.
For the first two hours the journey was incredible, but when we came into the city, the bus began to slow down, and we had several stops along the way, including a coffee break for the driver! I was getting anxious, and as I looked at my watch, I began to panic, thinking that I would not make it. I challenged the bus driver with my broken Portuguese telling him that there was no way I was going to miss my flight.
The consequences of missing the flight were enormous. I was on my own in a city of over 12 million people. I finally saw the airport to my left, and then the bus turned to the right, and I almost lost it! I have never prayed with so much urgency in my young life. The bus finally stopped and left me on the wrong terminal, I got my guitar and placed my rucksack over my shoulders, and I ran to terminal two.
When I got to the airline counter, there was no one there, I called out and someone came, she was very calm, checked my ticket and passport, and placed my luggage on the belt, and I ran towards the departure gates. I passed security and ran to the boarding gate only to realise that it was closing, I stopped and asked, with not much breath in my lungs, if the gate was going to be open again. The sweet Brazilian girl smiled at me and said yes, she checked my boarding pass and I run down the passenger boarding bridge so fast that I made it bounce.
I got to the aeroplane door, I apologised for being late, I don’t know what the flight assistant thought of me, but with a deep sense of great peace she led me to my seat, and as I looked around I saw people still cleaning the plane and it dawned on me that I was the first one on board!
I went from panic to relief, to huge embarrassment in a matter of seconds! I sat on my seat and hid behind a big newspaper!!
So, what happened? The flight was delayed, and I did not know it, God knew that I needed to be on that flight. That day I realised that God’s timing is perfect, I understood that I needed to trust Father God with my life and with all that I love and that what I hold dear is not just mine but His. I discovered that day I am a child of God, who’s heavenly daddy cares about the big and the small things.
I made it to the port city of El Salvador, and I walked out of the terminal with my face towards heaven thanking God, he knows my present and my future. The Scriptures say that “In a favourable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.” (2 Corinthians 6:2 ESV)