God's Perfect Timing
Words by Reagan Swier // Image by Sadie Culberson
“Good things come to those who wait.” It is likely that you have heard this said many times before. The expression is meant to push us to pursue the virtue of patience. However, this way of thinking seems to stand in stark contrast to the world we live in now where we are so used to speed and the mindset that if we wait too long, we will never reach our hopes, goals, or ambitions. Truly, this idea of holding out for the good things is very biblical. I have seen this come true in my own life as well as being a major theme in God’s Word. This is stated so perfectly in Psalm 27:14 where David the Psalmist urges us, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (NIV).
One of the longest periods that I have experienced waiting was ultimately for a good thing, but God had way better planning for that experience than I could ever have hoped for. Ever since I was 13, I have felt the desire to go on an overseas mission trip. I felt it was something God was putting on my heart and honestly, I liked the sense of adventure that I thought was sure to come with the experience of serving God in a foreign place. I prayed a lot that God would soon open up a door for me to go, but the waiting wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows; at times I became impatient or felt roots of distrust popping up in the back of my mind.
There was even a point about a year or two into the process where I was sure it was “the” trip. I signed up for it all sure and hopeful, only to be denied a spot on the team. At this point, I started to question him. God, is this really your plan for me? Is this ever really going to happen? It was that same summer that I was also turned down to be a helper at my church’s summer camp. Little did I know, God had other plans for me that summer, and still so much more to teach and prepare me for. During the time I would have been at camp, God had another type of service in mind for me within my own family. My younger sister and I didn’t exactly get along well at that time, and we ended up having an opportunity to connect that very week. One of her best friends had suddenly moved away, and she turned to me for companionship and comfort. During that surprising week we were simply blessed with the quality time people often find hard to fit in in this world filled with distractions. God placing me there at that exact time of need for her was something I could never have planned out on my own. Though that week didn’t play out like I had originally hoped, it was a time where I could distinctly see God’s hand working in my life. I learned to trust that God’s plans for my life are really there to prosper me and to give hope (Jer. 29:11), even when I don’t know the reasons for the things that happen. God knew and planned for that—something only he could do.
The small things for God’s kingdom can sometimes have just as big an impact as the seemingly big ones. After that, God still had a couple more years of teaching me patience and coming to him in prayer before his bigger plan for me would finally be revealed. Finally, last year, it was time for God to lead me overseas. Fall of my junior year, I went to a random meeting to hear from people who were planning a mission trip to the Philippines, a place I had never even thought about going before. It was right then and there that I felt that gentle nudging. “It’s time, Reagan. This is what I have prepared you for.” God had me wait, because he knew when I would be ready to serve him in that way; he knew when my heart would be in the right place, and he knew just when and where I was needed. I have learned to trust in his far superior timing, even when it is not even close to being easy to do so. I am so thankful for the amazing experience he allowed me to wait and hope for.
If my own story doesn’t already show you that God has people wait for the good things, all you need to do is look through the pages of his trusty Word. Right after the fall of mankind, a coming Savior is promised already in Genesis 3:15 which tells of Jesus coming to crush the evil one and absorb the sin that has taken root in the world. His people wait years upon years for this promise to be fulfilled, much much longer than I had to wait to go on my trip. However, the same things happened in the peoples’ hearts. They waited, they prayed, they doubted, became impatient, sinned some more. Eventually, in perfect timing, the foretold Savior came. In Luke 4:18–19, Jesus finally declares that this is God’s timing for the Messiah as he reads the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (NIV).
If God’s timing worked out for the salvation of his children, something as big as that, we must be able to trust that it will work out in our own decisions, big and small alike. So whether we are waiting on a job, college decisions, a spouse, a mission trip or even just a chance for a break, we must be willing to trust that God’s timing in the matter is truly the best for us. It may be very difficult or even discouraging at times, but when his timing comes through, what he has waiting for us will have been well worth the wait.