Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens
As I looked out into the congregation from behind the piano at the front of the sanctuary, I saw a lot of the regular attendees that day. I saw the usual front-ish row people. I saw the ones that sneak into the back rows right before service starts every Sunday. I saw the elders and pastors mingling like usual. Nothing was out of the ordinary. I just did my normal sitting and studying the chords of the hymns I would play later on.
In an instant, I looked up and saw a man sitting on the left side. I hadn’t talked to him in a while. He was talking to someone and laughing at something really funny. I looked over at him and thought, “I really need to go talk to him, someday.” I felt like God was telling me that I need to talk to him. I don’t know what I needed to talk to him about, but I just needed to say “hi.” Little did I know,
Little did I know, someday wouldn’t come. But, that happy laughing face was the last face I would see alive. The next day, Monday, he collapsed at work. After a week in the hospital, he went to be with God. I miss him, and I’ll never get that chance again to say hi.
The mark was definitely missed on my part this time. But God gives us several ways to be obedient to His call. In doing these things, you are closer to awakening to God’s timing. Had I done a little more of this, this post would have started with a different story altogether.
Pray for God’s Timing
Looking at the title of this section, it can be easy to misunderstand what I mean by “praying for God’s timing.” I’m not advocating that by simply praying that God will tell us exactly when to do everything in our lives. But, there are things that He’ll urge us to do at certain times if we are in prayer for His Will.
I try to make it a habit to ask God to use me each day. I try to pray for wisdom and discernment and to know how I can fit into His Will. This can be a start for you. If you are new to this concept, it can be summed up rather simply:
God, use me today. Help me to know how to please you.
That’s the basis of what you’re asking. Try this every day for the next week and see how your life can be transformed. If you ask Him for this, He will give it to you. The next step makes awakening to God’s timing a little more possible. Remember, prayer is talking to God. He wants a relationship with us and talking is part of all relationships.
Listen for God’s Timing.
Well, I did something right, there. I listened. Out of my busy morning, I felt the tug that brought attention to my dear friend. I knew that God had a reason for me to talk to him. I listened to that. I heard it. With prayer, I could be confident that it was His direction and not my own.
If you have been a part of any conversations in the past day or so, you will notice a pattern. One person talks, then that person listens as the other person (or people) reply. Conversation is a two-way street. It then makes sense that if praying is talking to God, we have to be sure to listen.
Now, His reply isn’t always a grand revelation. In fact, much of the busy noise of our lives can cover up the clear signal that should be God’s voice. Compare your life to the busy streets of Manhattan. Walking in the center square, listening to your favorite song on your earbuds, someone two feet talks quietly to you. Do you hear them clearly? What if you knew they were trying to talk to you–would you then begin to hear them? What, then, if you removed your earbuds and looked right at them, would you understand even better?
The problem is that when we try to wait for God to respond, we expect the city street to instantly become a desert. I’ve heard that in the Sahara Desert, it is so quiet that you can hear the absence of sound. In a place like that, with nothing else around, I think I would jump if someone so much as whispered at me! I wouldn’t have to be paying attention at all! However, he could respond in what 1 Kings 19:12 refers to as a still, small voice (American Standard Version).
12 and after the earthquake a fire; but Jehovah was not in the fire: and after the fire [a]a still small voice.
When it comes to hearing God’s end of the conversation, we have to quiet our lives just a bit. Periodically, we have to put away the earbuds, go into a quiet desert and wait. It is then that we can tell most clearly what comes from God. Psalm 46:10 puts it the best:
Be still, and know that I am God.
In the city streets or during the storms of our lives, we should all be still and know He is God.
Act on God’s Timing
In the original Willy Wonka film, the character Mike Teavee ran towards the “Wonkavision” invention. As soon as he knew that the device could shrink chocolate, I guess he wanted to be the first shrunken human. As he stood on the platform, Wonka said in a still, small voice “Don’t, stop, come back.” Of course, Mike wasn’t focused on what Mr. Wonka was saying. Mike’s own plan was in the way. And if Mike heard Mr. Wonka, he didn’t act on it. As a result, he was shrunken (though I hope the effects weren’t permanent!!).
This may be an obscure reference, but it makes a point. Mr. Wonka had a better grasp of the situation than little Mike, but Mike didn’t act on Mr. Wonka’s guidance. We’re all guilty of this when we look at it as us being Mike and God in the position of Mr. Wonka. This is exactly where I missed the mark with my dear late friend.
When driving on the interstate, you may see billboards or even exit signs for your planned destination. If, for example, you were heading to Disney World, there are several signs that tell you when to exit. They may as well be “EXIT NOW” signs for whatever park you are wanting to go to. What we tend to do sometimes with God is to ignore that exit sign. Maybe we don’t ignore it but think, “Oh, I’ll take that exit later on. I’m gonna keep going my own way for now.” When we look at getting to a certain destination, this doesn’t make sense! How can we get off on a particular exit later down the road, when the time to exit is now?
The thing to remember is this: “We can make our plans, but God determines our steps” (Proverbs 16:9). Our plans may be to go to Disney World, but the road we travel is provided by God. Our “steps” are outlined by his plan and not our own. If we fall off that path, we can miss our exit (or in my case, the exit of my friend).
What can we do to awaken to God’s timing?
Doing these things, we can get closer to pleasing God and living the fruitful lives He is calling us to. Are you in the city or desert at the moment? Maybe it’s time to be still.
I will be still and know You are God
Plumb–Need You Now (How Many Times).
I’m trying to hear that still small voice
I’m trying to hear above the noise
Kutless–Word of God Speak
To be still and know that You’re in this place
Please let me stay and rest in Your holiness
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