God’s Timing

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God’s Timing

Genesis 21:1-7

The Birth of Isaac 1

The Lord dealt with Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah as he had promised. Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time of which God had spoken to him. Abraham gave the name Isaac to his son whom Sarah bore him. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him. Now Sarah said, “God has brought laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” And she said, “Who would ever have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.”

Romans 5:1-8

Results of Justification

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand; and we boast in our hope of sharing the glory of God. And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. Indeed, rarely will anyone die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person someone might actually dare to die. But God proves his love for us in that while we still were sinners Christ died for us.

God speaks and creates the world around us. He uses His voice to teach us wisdom and to promise blessings in our lives. Following His voice, we put aside our pasts and find new ways to live. He does all of this and more, which is cause for constant thanksgiving except for onethiy: His timing.

God’s timing is not in sync with our own. He frustrates us most when He is showing His best but not when we hoped, expected, and planned for it. His ways are not our ways, and His timing is not our timing. It is better.

That is not always apparent though. Abraham and Sarah waited 20 years after God promised them a child before they experienced that promise kept. That was 20 more years they could have spent loving their son. Why? Simply because God thought a 60-year old giving birth was not challenging enough for Him so He raised the stakes to 80? Perhaps. God does show off His power more often than I believe we recognize. But ask yourself this: Do you think waiting for 20 years changed Abrahm and Sarah? I think it did. In fact, if the birth had taken place immediately, I don’t think Abraham would have had the faith or willingness to offer young Isaac back to God on Mount Moriah. They were changed not just by the miracle, but also in waiting on God’s timing of it.

On the other hand, God’s timing often is faster than our own. While He may sometimes seem slow to bring us blessings we focus on, like the watched kettle that never boils, He is incredibly quick to forgive. In fact, it often seems like God forgives us before we are even sorry. Aid so it should seem, for so it is. God does not wait for us to be ready for forgiveness. He sends it when we need it, not when we want it. We always need it before we want it. He exemplifies love to us in His timing by giving us what we need, when we need it… not what we want, when we want it.

How are you experiencing God’s timing today?

How are you loving according to the example of God’s timing?


  1. (Heb 11:11)

You can’t Go Home Again

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You Can’t Go Home Again

Genesis 24:1-9

The Marriage of Isaac and Rebekah

Now Abraham was old, well advanced in years; and the Lord had blessed Abraham in all things. Abraham said to his servant, the oldest of his house, who had charge of all that he had, “Put your hand under my thigh and I will make you swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I live, but will go to my country and to my kindred and get a wife for my son Isaac.” The servant said to him, “Perhaps the woman may not be willing to follow me to this land; must I then take your son back to the land from which you came?” Abraham said to him, “See to it that you do not take my son back there. The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father’s house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and swore to me, ‘To your offspring I will give this land,’ he will send his angel before you, and you shall take a wife for my son from there. But if the woman is not willing to follow you, then you will be free from this oath of mine; only you must not take my son back there.” So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore to him concerning this matter.

Acts 7:35-43

It was this Moses whom they rejected when they said, ‘Who made you a ruler and a judge?’ and whom God now sent as both ruler and liberator through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. He led them out, having performed wonders and signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and in the wilderness for forty years. This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up a prophet for you from your own people as he raised me up.’ He is the one who was in the congregation in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and with our ancestors; and he received living oracles to give to us. Our ancestors were unwilling to obey him; instead, they pushed him aside, and in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, saying to Aaron, ‘Make gods for us who will lead the way for us; as for this Moses who led us out from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him.’ At that time they made a calf, offered a sacrifice to the idol, and reveled in the works of their hands. But God turned away from them and handed them over to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the prophets:

‘Did you offer to me slain victims and sacrifices

forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?

No; you took along the tent of Moloch,

and the star of your god Rephan,

the images that you made to worship;

so I will remove you beyond Babylon.’

Thomas Wolfe’s posthumously published novel You Can’t Go Home Again puts a new spin on the experience of Jesus and the prophets and their work in their hometowns and parallels it with the work of an artist… in this case, an author. The memories he shared of his childhood home made him, and the people of his hometown nationally known. He appreciated the celebrity status. They did not. While he was not preaching to them, his nuanced portrayal would have dug into their own more secure self-perceptions. His artistic portrayal was challenging and in so being – prophetic.

There is another bit of prophetic work here as well, within the prophet-artist themselves. The home they portray is no more objetive than that of their neighbors. Even more than the direct criticism they receive, their own eyes and ears witness a different reality of home when they return home from their time away, out in the bigger world. Our attempts to return home frustrate ourselves, giving us doubts about our memories. One ancient Chinese poet, He Zhizhang, writes about this:

1 少小離家老大回

2 鄉音無改鬢毛摧(衰)

3 兒童相見不相識

4 笑問客從何處來

1 In youth, I left, now aged, I’ve come home,

2 My tongue unchanged, my hair thinner grown.

3 Unknown am I, to the children I meet,

4 Smiling they ask, “Where are you from?”1

Once you’ve left, you cannot go home again. One of the lies we are told is that we can somehow return to those romanticized places that may never have existed in the first place. On the other hand, Once you have met Jesus, nothing else looks the same ever again.

God doesn’t want us looking back wistfully. He wants us to lean forward into a future with Him.

What longing keeps you looking back?

What hope of a new home with Christ leads you onward?

Morning Breath

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breathe with me just once more

in lifting gasps of wonder

from different vantage

underbent

on silver strands

of sunlight

 

singing through the morning air

alive at once again

my soul calls out

in heartfelt hymn

an ode to

anonymity

 

lost in all this beauteous world

a silent saffron dancer

who paints the days

unspent in steps

and bounds through

endlessly

 

for all of time is held right here

at hand upon our fingers

for tunes that sold

our heritage

and sing in

timeless breath

 

 


 

First Frost

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Supple droplets coalesce

in morning mist, whose cool caress

embraces all in loneliness,

sinking into shallow ground.

Follows then a breath of air,

whose northern accent chills the fair

unfinished droplets, held with care

there upon my glass found.

Shining into crystal likeness,

bright and white and round –

they harden without sound.

Beaded strings of peasant pearls

twined about in crescent curls,

crawling up my window, whorls

unbroken in a line.

There beset with misting sweat

they bind together, tight and yet

their seamless sheen and coverlet

grows gently as a vine.

Silently, with silver strength,

they reflect the moonshine –

until the night’s resign.

Morning brings a glassy sight

a world engulfed in frost-fire light

and painted crystalline and white

in heavenly decor.

The dusted streets stand glistening

while festive boughs are listening

to birdsong southbound christening

the mountain to the shore.

The fragrance of festivity

wafts in and out my door –

til spring returns once more.

An Acrostic on Midnight – Life XVII

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We hide each night

not in gestures, however timely

in stature

and living marks of strained torque –

deeds of no extent.

 

A new day

set upon nimble reaches in sure event,

glows red on waiting shores,

sighing onward

‘neath each awaiting response.

 

This hour answers those

warring emotions,

crashing and neurotic,

tipped over unconditionally, crying horrendously

to heroic endearments,

slighting pillars, and culling each sentinel.

 

It ticks softly,

this intimate moment evading

the other

siding midway over on the hearth

to hither ears

hidden above iridescent regality.

 

Addled, noted digressions

greet each tether,

together heading everywhere,

dreaming in multiplexed prickles, leaning ever south,

reverencing every addler, despite yourself.

 

All now declare

with open numinosity, declaring eighty reaches

without end,

cradled over us, lowered down,

crossed and redeeming evermore.

 

For our respite

there heralds a trophy,

only left dying

for a death-eating democracy

marked in damned notes, in great hellish thoughts.

 

This has a troubling,

fear-ridden intensity, garnished here this evening, next empty doors,

but underneath this,

another note…

hope – our understanding renewed.