All in God’s Good Time
The Pharisees heard that Jesus was gaining and baptizing more disciples than John, although in fact it was not Jesus who baptized, but his disciples. When the Lord learned of this, he left Judea and went back once more to Galilee. (John 4:1-3)
The Pharisees were irritated over Jesus’ growing ministry, and He was well aware of their propaganda spreading against Him. These leaders had finally had rid themselves of John the Baptist and now Jesus arrived on the scene stirring the hearts of the people. The fact that Jesus was making many disciples grieved them and they hoped to soon be rid of Him as well. However, Jesus never concerned Himself with man’s opinions–whether good or bad. We find earlier in John:
Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man. (John 2:23-25)
Jesus knew very well the fickleness of the human heart and was also clearly aware of what His future held. Yet, He knew the time for his true purpose to be accomplished had not yet come and so He returns to Galilee to escape His exasperated enemies. His focus was always fixed, carefully living in regards to God’s timing and purpose. This is evident in the response he gave to His own family members who asked why He was not seeking to do His miracles more publically:
“The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. You go to the Feast. I am not yet going up to this Feast, because for me the right time has not yet come.” (John 7:6-8)
Always pleasing the Father, Jesus’ timing was always precisely what the Father desired. Those who follow after the desires of their own heart find any time right to do whatever they please. Conversely, those seeking to do God’s will, wait on God’s timing. King David, a man after God’s own heart, tells us:
I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.
Let’s face it; waiting is never easy. In our microwave society, we want everything instantaneously–no waiting in lines at the bank or the grocery store; no waiting at the doctor’s office or on the phone for a human voice; no waiting for a husband or a wife or a child; no waiting for a vacation or a home or a car–we humans simply do like to wait! Yet the Bible is filled with phrases indicating “wait time”: “in the fullness of time;” “after a long time;” “at the appointed time;” “during that long period;” “when the time had fully come.” Our times are in His hands whether we acknowledge that fact or not. The Bible tells us:
But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands. (Psalm 31:14-15)
Let me be perfectly clear here–waiting always has a purpose! God is in the process of and building our characters and working in the lives of those around us with each minute that passes! He wants us to “grow up” in Him in order that we may be vessels used by Him. Believe me, that takes time! Abraham was 100 when his promised son was born; God took thirteen years grooming Joseph before he was elevated to the second highest in command under Pharaoh; Moses was years tending his father-in-law’s sheep before leading the Israelites out of Egypt; and the list goes on and on. To prepare a vessel for use takes time, and the end result is more than worth the wait.
Take It to Heart
Rather than whining, or complaining, or simply doing nothing during our prolonged periods of waiting, might it not be a better use of our time to earnestly seek God through prayer, through His Word, and by the counsel of godly friends and family? Why not identify those areas in our lives that God is working on and be willing participants with Him while living in joyful and hopeful expectation!
For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
“Our Lord never worried and was never anxious, because His purpose was never to accomplish His own plans but to fulfill God’s plans. Fretting is wickedness for a child of God.” (Oswald Chambers)