Timing Is Everything
My wife and I recently returned from a trip to the mountains of North Carolina to see the fall colors. Fortunately, we drove through some higher elevations and saw some trees at peak color. Unfortunately, we were staying at a place where the peak color will not normally appear until a time almost two weeks after we leave. I’m not complaining; the weather was cool and being on vacation is always nice. But I am sharing that I came to a realization about how important timing is. Because the trees had not changed where we were did not mean that they would not change. They will change and change gloriously. I have seen the pictures!
I once heard a New Testament scholar offer the opinion that a lot of the controversy Jesus had with religious authorities was over timing. They were not against work or healing, they just didn’t think the Sabbath was the right time for them. Also, it seems that the disagreement Jesus had with the crowds who followed him was over timing in one sense. They wanted the fullness of the kingdom of God to come immediately and the ouster of the Romans with it. Not seeing that fullness would lead to a disastrous failed revolution in the next 40 years which Jesus foresaw and warned against. Millions of people would die as a result of their impatience with what they interpreted as the slow coming of God’s Kingdom.
So what do we learn about God’s sense of timing from these two disagreements over timings? From the debate with the religious leaders, I learn that it is always the right time to help people who are in need. From the disagreement with the crowd, I learn to trust in God’s work and timing- because we don’t see evidence of God working does not mean that God is not at work. And I also learn that violence and the exercise of power over others, no matter how righteous the cause, rarely is the way to help bring in God’s kingdom. Let us do our part to help the world be as God intends today- but with love and trust.