by Emily Conrad
We’ve tried to time trips to northern Wisconsin to catch the height of fall color, but our timing has never been as perfect as it was this year. Hillsides fit for a postcard rolled alongside the highway, vistas of orange and red stretched away from observation towers, and gold and crimson leaves dotted trails and pools at the bases of waterfalls.
The funny thing is, this year, we let someone else choose the timing. We traveled north with friends who had other commitments. Their schedule mostly made the decision for us.
I’ve got ideas for how to time other events in my life.
In 2018, I wrote out a 5-year plan for my writing, outlining where I want to be and when. I’d heard the advice to do so from other writers. The idea is that once we have our goals, we can break them down into steps so we can work more effectively toward accomplishing them.
Considering the way my plans have worked out so far, it appears my timing was off.
I like to be in control, but I can’t force the results I desire.
I knew that. I wrote in my plans, “What can only God do? Open doors. Yes and No are in His hands.”
Almost two years into the 5-year plan, I sometimes struggle to be at peace with that.
But this trip reminded me that timing is sometimes best left to others. In the case of my writing, it’s best left to the God whose timing is always perfect.
And God will exalt you in due time, if you humble yourselves under his mighty hand by casting all your cares on him because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7, NET
I’m struck that the way this verse says to humble ourselves is to “cast our cares on him.”
At a time when I’d love to take back over and plan my own life because maybe God’s forgotten me or doesn’t care as much as I do, Peter issues a gentle reminder that God does care and that the best thing I can do is to continue to trust Him and His timing.
Peter continues, “Be sober and alert. Your enemy the devil, like a roaring lion, is on the prowl looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8
Could it be that’s where those doubts about God’s loving care came from? A devil who roars, “If God loved and chose you, it would’ve happened by now!”
These roars have shaken me.
This isn’t just about writers. Peter was writing to a church in exile that faced persecution the likes of which I do not. But regardless, in this world, we have trouble. Some comes because of our faith. Some because we live in a fallen world. We face conflicts and waits and heartaches.
Our prayers aren’t always answered on our timelines, and the roars of the devil grow more convincing.
Have you heard the roars lately?
If so, you may be encouraged, as I was, by the promise Peter shares toward the close of his letter:
And, after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace who called you to his eternal glory in Christ will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him belongs the power forever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:10-11, NET
No, these verses aren’t a promise that we’ll get everything we want or that the timing will work out the way we expect. But they do assure us that we can trust God’s love, even as He asks us to wait or walk a valley. He cares about each of our steps.
When we trust Him, we already have assurance of the most important thing: a secure eternity.
While we wait to see God’s timing play out, we can also take comfort that the devil isn’t the only one with a roar. In fact, his roar has nothing on God’s.
The Lord roars from Zion;
from Jerusalem his voice bellows out.
The heavens and the earth shake.
But the Lord is a refuge for his people;
he is a stronghold for the citizens of Israel.
Joel 3:16, NET
Timing is out of my power, and there’s no better way for it to be. Because what is entirely beyond me is well within God’s loving control.
He’s aware of the passage of time. He is good, and He will accomplish His purposes at the right time.
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