Chasing the Son 3
Editor’s Note: In a nod to our Presbyterian heritage, we regularly feature a column from a PMMA® chaplain in our newsletter. This month’s column comes from Dave Parker, chaplain at Salina Presbyterian Manor®.
Chasing the Son
God’s Perfect Timing
In Mark 3:35 Jesus said that His true relations are those who know and do the Father’s will. In His own words, “For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.” He makes the point very clear that it’s important to earnestly seek God’s will for our life. Not just play some kind of cosmic guessing game like, what does God want me to do today?
Instead diligently seek His will for your life through constant prayer and a commitment to studying His Word. When Jesus taught us how to pray He instructed us to place our faith in God that His kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. This requires obedience, submission to His will OVER your own personal desires. And that, many times, results in conflict, doesn’t it?
But He alone has the design and the plan. He knows what we don’t. He sees the end game and has established the path to follow it through. As He spoke through His prophet Isaiah, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Is 55:9).” His plan is an infinite web of redemption that draws each of us into a role to accomplish His purposes.
That’s where our faith lies. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Eph 2:10).” Only God is perfect. And His plan for us is one of perfection. Not only in the sense of His infinite knowledge and perfect timing, but in the sense He is perfecting us in this life. Preparing us for holiness with Him. Faith in God’s will requires complete reliance on His perfect timing.
As we grow in our faith through God’s process of refinement, we learn to trust His plan and His timing. Not just for our own life, but for the world around us. We come to accept that His plan doesn’t always align perfectly with our hopes and our expectations. Tolstoy from his epic novel, War and Peace, is quoted, “The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.”
Unfortunately, I think these two warriors are often in conflict with each other. God’s timeline is infinite. And even though our salvation is true and eternal, our timeline here is short. So, our hope is usually that God’s will would align with our desire. But our prayer should always be that He helps us to align our heart with His will. God’s perfect timing teaches us to put our trust in Him and wait with patience knowing He is at work unfolding His plan.
Let’s think for a moment about the 400-year period between the Old and New Testaments; a wilderness, a complete drought of God’s Word. Based on Scripture, God simply didn’t interact with His people. Why the void? Had He turned His back on them, just like they had done to Him? Was He teaching them a lesson? Was He ignoring them? Maybe they still just weren’t listening and all the seers and prophets of God were just gone.
Or maybe there’s another answer. Do you remember from high school or college, that critical point in a speech or play that you pause - and you’ve got the audience on edge - waiting for the next line to drop? That critical pause says you’re in control of the moment and underscores the importance of what’s coming next. Maybe that’s exactly what’s going on with God’s 400 years of silence. It was God’s critical pause.
A hyphen. A dash between the two epochs. He’s saying, I’m in control. I know exactly what’s coming next and when He is going to arrive. Now, be patient and trust Me. Your Messiah is coming. And what great joy you will experience when He arrives. Your salvation is at hand. As the prophet Isaiah said in 60:22, “Remember this, when the time is right, I the Lord will make it happen.”
In the prophet’s words here, we catch a glimpse of God’s sovereignty. God is assuring His people that even though the effects of your sin are all around you, I will bring an end to this. I will restore you to Myself. I will send you my Son, your Messiah, to redeem you. God’s will. His timing is perfect. Have you ever felt in your own life like God was being silent? You reach out to Him in prayer, but no response; like He’s just not listening.
You start to think, why God? Why can’t I hear you? As difficult as it can be sometimes. When you think He’s not listening, you may be experiencing God’s critical pause. Remember God’s ways are infinitely higher than we can ever begin to comprehend. Our perspective is finite, but God’s is infinite. It’s not that He’s got too much on His plate or He’s not paying attention. His plan takes time to unfold. All we are left to do is trust that He has a divine purpose for His delay.
No matter how impossible a situation appears, how crummy you feel, or how there seems to be no hope, no help, no solution, God will see you through because He alone is the author and authority of life. We put periods in our lives where God puts commas. We think it’s over. Period. Your marriage, your family, your job, your health, your future. But God puts a comma there because nothing is over until He says so.
The world put a period after Jesus’s death on the Cross. In the world’s mind it was over. But God has the final say. It’s not over until I the Lord say it’s over. And three days later, God raised Jesus from the tomb and He is alive today! Hallelujah! “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death where is your victory? O death where is your sting? … But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor 15:54-57).”