Summary: God’s timing is not always our timing, but it is always right. Here’s how to wait on Him.
Waiting on God’s Timing
I think that almost every Christmas pageant, Christmas card and manger scene that you see has the wise men showing up at the stable. Even the movie, “the Nativity Story” has them at the stable. It’s not wrong to have them at the stable; it is just not very likely. It does make for a nice compact scene.
Herod had his death squads kill all the boys under the age of two because the wise men told him that the star appeared about two years earlier. That means that these royal astrologers had been traveling for anywhere up to two years in order to see this newborn king!
You’d hope that Joseph had moved Mary and Jesus out of the barn by that time.
I’m not saying this for you to get you knickers in a not every time you see wise men at the stable scene. I’m telling you because we need to know that God’s timing is not always our timing. Mary, Joseph and Jesus could have used that gold at the stable, but they had to wait up to two years for the gifts – it likely came in handy when they were refugees in Egypt!
The wise men traveled for two years to see a child that a star had told them about! The baby could have been talking before they arrived!
There are others who did not journey, but waited much longer for this child.
Simeon had been told by the Holy Spirit that he would see the promised Messiah before he died. Who knows what he imagined he would see. But he is now an old man, you might wonder if he had begun to doubt the promise, or his ability to hear as he felt closer and closer to the grave and still no Messiah. But finally, the Spirit wakes him up one morning and says “get up, go to the temple, the messiah will be there. When the old man takes Jesus in his arms, he says,
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may know dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
A light for revelation to the Gentiles
and the glory of your people Israel”
I tell these two stories to say that God’s timing doesn’t often fit our schedules. The journey doesn’t take a few days and end at the stable – it takes a few years. The promise is not fulfilled the day after it is given, if is fulfilled in the last hour. The magi waited two years to see the king, Simeon waited his whole life, Israel waited 100s of years… What are you waiting for?
I just read an article by James Loney, the Christian Peace Maker who was held in captivity in Iraq with three other men for 118 days more than a year ago. He wroyte that the hardest part was the waiting – the conditions were rough and uncomfortable, but the time was what was most difficult.
What are you waiting for? Are you waiting for a loved one to find Christ? Are you waiting for a loved one to find you? Are you waiting for healing? Are you waiting for peace? Are you waiting for direction?
I think that the greatest temptation that we have when we are waiting for God’s timing is to take things into our own hands – force God’s hand and get things moving.
The first king of Israel fell to this temptation.
Saul had restarted the war against the Philistines, in I Samuel 13, Israel’s warriors had gathered to fight the Philistines. The Philistines had a huge army, far outnumbering Israel’s and definitely out powering Israel in technology. When the men in Saul’s army saw that they were in for a rout, they began to desert.
Now, you couldn’t go into battle without offering an offering to God, so Saul and his army were waiting for the prophet and priest Samuel to come and make the offering. The day that he was supposed to be there came and went & Samuel didn’t come. More of Saul’s men left. Another day came and went and more men left. In the end they waited seven days and they only had 600 men left to fight against thousands of Philistines. Saul finally got tired of waiting, and he assumed the role of the priest and made the offering. As soon as he was finished, Samuel showed up.
This is what it says: 1 Samuel 13:11-14
Saul’s decision to step outside the bounds that God had set was the beginning of the end for him – God’s favor left him, and he began to make bad decision after bad decision until he was killed with no descendant to take the throne.