“Timing is everything,” a trite-and-true saying if ever one existed (See what I did there replacing “tried” with “trite.” Clever, right?) Like many oft-used quotes, however, familiarity has lessened its sting, softened its edges.
But it’s nonetheless true.
Timing matters in relationships. I know not to correct my spouse when she’s angry or stressed. Timing matters when it comes to health. I know firsthand how important it is to detect and treat cancer in its early stages. And what about finance? In terms of buying and selling stock, timing could mean the difference between thousands of dollars.
Timing really is everything. If you cannot recognize the comings and goings of particular seasons, things typically don’t end well. That’s why we have experts, especially in those fields where the potential for loss is greatest. Doctors are experts in the medical field. Pilots are experts in the cockpit. You get the idea.
Timing is also everything spiritually. And much like experts in whatever field, we need eyes to see the comings and goings of seasons. Without this lens, we cannot respond to each season appropriately. One of the most popular passages in Scripture introduces us to this reality.
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal. A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones. A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching. A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend. A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)
Should I continue with this relationship? Should I change careers? Is it the right time to have kids or adopt? Should I go this way or that? These are difficult questions. The key to answering them comes in how you see.
Here’s the thing. You don’t develop this awareness naturally, much like a doctor isn’t born knowing how to diagnose and treat cancer. With that, how do we develop a godly perspective? A few thoughts…
A few thoughts…
I don’t know why we humans so naturally despise change. But we do, and it’s unfortunate because change is the only constant.
Every human, all of creation, in fact, is subject to this reality. Things change. Seasons come and go. You can curse the heavens over this. You can stand firm in your rigidity. But, in the end, things will continue to change. And in my experience, the most bitter and resentful people are the ones can’t stop living in the past.
More than that, you will change, from day to day, sometimes from hour to hour. Your mood will change. Your passion and energy will change. For years, circumstances determined my mood, how I felt and interacted with the world.
Some days you will wake up and feel as though a Mac truck plowed you over. Twice. Some days you will wake up with enough energy and drive for a small army of Leprechauns. One of the major tasks of spiritual maturity, however, is to rise above the ebbs-and-flows of external circumstances and truly find your strength in the Lord. Doing so requires you to control your mind, taking your thoughts captive (as the apostle Paul says).
Celebrate the highs. Persevere through the lows. LEARN from both.
Life comes with good and bad, ups and downs. Some seasons are lived on the mountaintop, others in the valley. In my experience, it’s crazy easy to become intoxicated by the highs and dismissive of the downs.
I’m not against celebrations. There’s a time for dancing, after all. It’s just that our joy isn’t defined by or dependent on the highs or the lows. Our joy is found in the Lord.
EVERY season matters. All of them. God uses all of them to mold and shape us. Rather than basking in the best life has to offer or despising the worst, we need to learn from both. We must learn to praise God for who he is, regardless of the season we’re in. When things are good, we celebrate. But we don’t become drunk on the moment and lose sight of what God’s doing around us. Conversely, in difficult seasons, we struggle, we mourn. But we never lose hope that God is working and will ultimately redeem our suffering.
He wants to show us something about himself regardless of the circumstances in our life.
Let go of trying to predict or control life’s seasons.
You can’t predict the seasons. You can’t control them. You can’t manufacture one’s end and another’s beginning. And the more you seek to do this, the more it will become the central focus of your life. It will become your idol, in other words.
You should recognize that life consists of many different seasons. But the whens and how longs? Those aren’t for you and me to know.
Our job? Follow in the footsteps of Jesus. To walk with God and stay attentive to his ways. The seasons will come at their appointed time. We shouldn’t waste energy predicting or controlling them. If we seek God, we will be ready.
Live in the present moment.
There’s a particular way that we walk with God, and that way is daily. Christian living is right now living. That’s why, I believe, the Psalmist asks God to help him number his days, not his weeks or month or years. God doesn’t reveal the whole picture to us. Every day is an opportunity to engage our Creator, to step into what he’s doing in and around us. What does it mean to follow Jesus, today, right now? Not tomorrow or next year. Right now.
Timing is everything. May we see the world through God’s lens.
Grace and peace, friends.
Frank is lead writer and editor for the blog at Bayside church. He is also a husband, father and Jesus-follower. Occasionally he plays golf. Often he drinks coffee.