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How Do We Know God’s Timing?

I didn’t know it, but I was in the middle of a miracle.    Bob and I were on a flight to Dallas. At the gate Laura walked up to me. She knows me – we have mutual friends, Lisa and Amie.    “Why are you going to Dallas?” I asked.   “I’m afraid of flying, so this is m…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
I didn’t know it, but I was in the middle of a miracle. 
 
Bob and I were on a flight to Dallas. At the gate Laura walked up to me. She knows me – we have mutual friends, Lisa and Amie. 
 
“Why are you going to Dallas?” I asked.
 
“I’m afraid of flying, so this is my test flight. If I can do this one, then next month, my husband and I will fly to Hawaii.”
 
Lisa and Amie and others had been praying for this flight. They had been praying for courage, praying for God’s timing in releasing her from fear.
 
All I knew was that she was covered with fear, “Let’s pray that fear off of you right now!” I said. 
 
Bob and I laid hands on her and by the time we finished praying, the fear had left her. 
 
We had no sooner finished praying when another stranger walked up to us. 
 
“Excuse me, Seth – I’m Thomas Wensil. I was a squad leader on the race and now Stacy and I live in Cambodia. You’ve been emailing me about moving to Siem Reap and partnering with Scott Kwak to start a base there. We’ve been learning the Khmer language and want to help!”
 
I can be a little slow spiritually at times, but I could see that God had an agenda and I didn’t want to miss it. 
 
Once on the plane, I moved to a seat next to him. We talked about all that God is doing in his life and Cambodia and how to plant a church there.
 
What I didn’t tell Thomas is that we’d tried to start a base in Cambodia five years ago. And while that effort bore good fruit, the base didn’t take root. We’ve been waiting on God’s timing ever since. 
 
It would seem that God’s timing in Cambodia is now.
 
God’s timing for Laura to be free was now, on this flight! I checked on her mid-flight and she gave me me two big thumbs up and a smile. Same thing on landing – success!
 
A birthing room 
 
Recently our church prayed for a couple who desperately wanted a baby. We believe in a good God. We believe he is a life-giver, the God of miracles. Why not for these couples – why not today? 
 
It’s a question of timing – he knows it and we don’t. And so we gathered around the two couples and prayed for them. You could feel God’s presence. I sensed the Lord saying, “step up the intensity of your prayers!” And so we did.
 
Afterwards we talked about timing. I said to those gathered in the room, “I believe God has us in a birthing room here.”
 
The next week we came back together as a church. We shared with one another and then, one of the women for whom we had prayed said the words that caused first a long, disbelieving pause and then laughter.
 
“I’m pregnant.”
 
She hadn’t believed it either. She kept getting tested and each time the result was the same.
 
Yes, God is good! Yes, he is a life-giver. And he’s proving himself to us yet again.
 
Learning to wait and to trust
We’ve all been disappointed in God. To be human is to have your hopes dashed. Too many Christians wear an artificial smile in the face of their despair. They don’t get God’s timing and inside they may be gasping for breath, but outside we have no idea.
 
One of the hardest things about being young is that you don’t know how long things should take. We get impatient waiting because our expectation of what should happen is out of sync with reality.
 
As his child, God has given you visions and dreams. Let me encourage you: Hang on to them! If we believe in a good God who knows the end from the beginning, then we can trust him for the timing. 
 
We can believe in the words of Habakkuk 2:3, “For the vision is yet for the appointed time, and it hurries toward the end, and won’t prove false. Though it takes time, wait for it; because it will surely come. It won’t delay.”
 
Knowing God’s timing is rarely easy. But we know that he wants to be trusted. Let’s trust God for his timing – he is good and we know he holds our future. We can depend on him to come through for us.

Comments (7)

  • something about this has me paying attention though my heart rebels at the thought of trusting, Habakkuk 2:3, “For the vision is yet for the appointed time, and it hurries toward the end, and won’t prove false. Though it takes time, wait for it; because it will surely come. It won’t delay.”

  • Thank you Seth. I tell people that the walk of faith is a place where we “manage tensions” much more than “solve problems.” A linear and formulaic view of spirituality and especially in the Western world somehow presupposes “if I DO this then THAT or THIS will happen.” It doesn’t work that way as you know. Many cancers never abate. Genetic illnesses continue to ravage generation after generation. Marriages sink under the weight of choice. Wombs often remain barren. And so the nagging cry of “Why” collides with the existential evidence proving the veracity of the response… “there is no logical answer.” I still recall a church AWANA class where as a ten year old the portly male teacher donning a grey uniformed shirt with lots of badges asked the question “What is your favorite Bible verse? Come up front one by one and recite it.” I was next to last. After hearing young voices intone the same two verses (John 3:16 and Romans 8:28) I moved forward and said “Hebrews 11:13.” With a puzzled look (I still remember his name was Don) this volunteer leader of young men asked “Can you recite it?” to which I said “Yes. Hebrews 11:13. These all died in the faith not having received the promise but confessing from afar they were strangers and aliens on the earth longing for their real home.” I missed a few of the words. But the point was made. And it is still my favorite passage. Why? Because it helps when the creeping madness of life’s agony rears its ugly head again. Love you Seth. Pax Christi.

  • That’s right. For those of us who want to experience love, our options are few: trust or don’t trust.

  • Hanna Miecznikowski

    Right with you on this one! Probably the biggest way I’ve been growing in the past two years is faith that God will do what He has said He will do. I’ve mentally believed that forever, but it is so much more real in my spirit lately. And I’ve been sitting on that exact verse in Habakkuk for ages now. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Monday begins me taking a six week leave of absence from work, to make more room for the Lord in my life, to pursue with intentionally some dreams that it hasn’t been time for before now, to enjoy my child more, to have time to cook dinner, and to continue to wait in hope for a few specific promises I know are on their way. It’s gonna be full of Him.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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