There are things you read at times that grant you a more personal perspective on how God works. The following, from When God Weeps by Joni Eareckson Tada and Steven Estes did just that for me…
[God] arranges for natural events to occur at specific times to further his ends. In other words, he plans coincidences.
In Athens, the apostle Paul “reasoned…in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there” (Acts 17:17). Some of those window-shoppers became believers. Yet the coincidence of their strolling the marketplace that week was no coincidence, for believers have been chosen “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4)…
Your life is no exception to God’s delight in arranging coincidences. Consider your big Fourth-of-July picnic. You live near Philadelphia, so it’s only right to eat a burger in Ben Franklin’s honor. The sun is warm, the grill’s working, the grass is mowed for softball, and everyone’s bringing a Jell-O salad. But unknown to you, God wants it to rain. He wants your friends to go home. He wants your brother-in-law Ed to help you hurry the grill into the garage where you two will stand leaning against the car, listening to the downpour. There you’ll get into a long conversation leading into spiritual things that will eventually lead to your brother-in-law’s conversion. Your brother-in-law’s been thinking about God lately but he’s a private man, hesitant to broach personal subjects, and needs an ideal time and setting.
How does God pull this off? Miracle rain out of nowhere? Something that baffles AccuWeather and brings the X-File team into investigate?
No. While it’s still warm in your backyard, five miles above the air is starting to cool. A miracle? No, a polar jet stream – bringing colder air from the northwest. Dry and heavy, this air will drop, shoving the steamy air in your back yard upward. Rising, it will cool, and its water vapor become clouds. About three miles up, those clouds will make ice crystals. Watch out. Ice crystals get bloated from eating up nearby water molecules – too fat to keep floating. They start falling as snow, but it’s summertime, and by the time they hit your infield it’s raining.
“Bye, Smiths! Bye, Wilsons! It was fun while it lasted. Sure, Ed, I could use some help carrying this thing.”
Yet not long ago the jet stream was two-hundred miles north. What shot it your way this particular weekend? Something that happened three days ago – a jet stream disturbance over the Canadian Rockies – a disturbance just right to send things Philadelphia-ward. And to get this disturbance “just right”? A precise path of that jet stream over the mountains. And to achieve that precise path? A complicated sequence of atmospheric twists from the earth’s rotation and the proper Pacific Ocean water temperature a day earlier. Yet that temperature was being affected back in April – when the right amount of cloud-cover was letting in the right amount of sunlight. Six thousand miles away and four years earlier, a volcano spewed ashes into the atmosphere that affected last April’s cloud-cover. And eleven years before that the sun was gearing up for its next sunspot cycle that eventually affected last April’s Pacific temperature.
God’s been thinking about your brother-in-law for a long time.
Of course, sure-fire rain doesn’t guarantee that Ed will show up at the picnic. He had been looking forward to eighteen holes today. But his golfing buddy’s wife caught an ad this morning about the “Red, White & Blue Sale” at Harry’s Lawn & Garden, and immediately swore that her husband had seen his last hot meal until he gets himself over there and finally buys that lovely Comfo-Life lawn furniture that promised EASY ASSEMBLY WITHIN MINUTES. So today God planted thoughts in a wife’s mind and allowed advertisers to stretch the truth about assembly-required by about – oh, say, five and a half hours-in addition to lining up nature in advance. And God is doing the same with people all over the country who need a little rain, or sunshine, to further his work in their lives.
Totally natural. Mind-bogglingly complicated.
Every time I read that passage, I’m reminded to depend upon His timing, not mine. That is an exercise of faith.
Don’t overlook evidence of God’s timing in your life, and avoid getting ahead of God’s plans. When we rush into any decision, whether starting or ending a relationship, moving somewhere or making any other life-changing choice, we risk making mistakes because we haven’t waited on God to speak to us.
Remember: His timing is perfect.
In fact, you’re reading this posting at just this moment for a specific reason…and you probably know exactly why too.