I wish I’d had the foresight to write this for the January issue. My word of the year is “Timing.” If you’ve never heard of a word of the year, it’s something I was introduced to a couple of years ago. As the name implies, it’s a focal word for a year of spiritual growth. I did it for the first time in 2017, and it truly blessed me (my 2017 word was “Selah,” which means to pause, praise, and pray). Got put “timing” on my heart for 2018, and several conversations solidified the choice. It’s a perfect word choice for me as I wait for a particular prayer to be answered. I try to be patient, but waiting on God with a stopwatch—it’s just not the most efficient use of our time.
Most Christians struggle with God’s timing. Personally, I spent much of 2017 in a pattern of waiting, and so far, I’m still circling the runway. And that’s okay. We don’t like to wait to begin with, and since we serve an all-powerful God for whom nothing is impossible, it’s hard to understand why He doesn’t just do stuff instantaneously. Especially when our requests are Biblically within His will.
“Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” ~ Psalm 27:14
For me, timing represents several things: waiting, trust, hope, faith, and patience. I am waiting for God’s timing. I am trusting in His timing. I have hope in His timing. I have faith that His timing will be perfect.
I am patient because I know He hears my prayers; I know my prayers line up with His will, and I know He will answer me. I know this from three verses that I regularly focus on:
John 14:13-14 says, “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.”
Of course, motive is a key part of that, so there’s a secondary verse from 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” We can’t expect answers to our prayers if they are rooted in selfish motivation. They have to line up with God’s will.
The third verse that brings me great comfort as I’m waiting for His timing is from James 5:16b, “The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
While I’m waiting, I take great comfort in the story of Daniel. In Daniel 10, Daniel is visited by an angel who says in verse 12, “‘Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.’”
Can you imagine?? The key phrase from this passage is “since the first day you began to pray.” When we pray a sincere prayer that is in line with God’s will, heaven begins to move. And God is working, even when the minutes tick away on the clock, and we can’t see anything happening. Tapping the watch face (and sometimes your foot) and thinking, “Anytime now, Lord!” will not speed Him up. But here’s the first lesson from my word of the year: God is never late. He shows up on time, every time.
Habakkuk 2:3 says, “This vision is for a future time. It describes the end, and it will be fulfilled. If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently, for it will surely take place. It will not be delayed.”
Wait patiently. It will not be delayed. But everything will happen in God’s perfect timing. And when it does—our patience satisfied, we will see clearly why God’s timing was so precise. And we will give Him the credit and praise He so richly deserves.