Perfect Timing

Who better to control timing than the One who set time into motion? It is not the watchmaker who creates the time, but it is the watchmaker who uses his gifts to create the watch that is used to reflect created time. We all have a part in God’s story.
Timing is sometimes an elusive concept. When exactly is the “perfect timing?” Have you ever experienced a waiting period? Perhaps you are right now counting the days, hours and minutes until your summer vacation. Or perhaps you are in your thirty-ninth week of pregnancy enduring this summer heat, and you are waiting for “that moment.” Or perhaps you are in a season of wondering what your next step will be, and you are waiting on confirmation. Whatever it is, timing can fill us with emotion, desperation, expectancy, or fear depending on our circumstances.
Our perfect God has perfect timing. Even when it appears that His timing makes absolutely no sense in our current situation, His timing always works out according to His plan. Throughout the Bible, we see His perfect timing applied to situation after situation. We also see circumstances and consequences faced by those who decide to go before His timing and take matters into their own hands. Admittedly, I spend a lot of my time bouncing back and forth between totally relying on His perfect timing (usually when I am the closest to Him and fully trusting in Him) and sadly taking matters into my own hands. The latter often leads to frustration and something less than.
As I read through Acts 3 this week, the account of the beggar at the Beautiful Gate spoke to me. This beggar had been lame from birth, and a friend had placed him at the Temple each day (Acts 3:2). He was a grown man, so it got me thinking, how many times had Jesus walked by this beggar? Jesus was present in the Temple regularly and would have walked by this beggar. Had Jesus or the disciples given any money to this man before? Had Jesus exchanged any words or glances with Him before this encounter? Had this beggar seen Peter and John with Jesus? If he had, why didn’t he ask Peter and John to heal him instead of asking them for money?
According to some accounts, approximately forty thousand people lived in Jerusalem at the time. Even without the news and social media, word would have spread rather quickly about the things the disciples were doing and saying. Why was this beggar concerned only about his immediate physical needs instead of the larger spiritual things?
Honestly, I have absolutely no idea. But do you know what? We aren’t that different today.
Jesus had a similar encounter with a lame man at the pool of Bethesda (see John 5:1–15). Jesus saw the paralytic man lying near the pool’s edge. Instead of begging for money, this guy was looking for healing. He desperately wanted to get in the healing waters to change his life, but he had become hopeless. When Jesus asked him if he wanted to get well, the man mumbled to Jesus—the One who had the power to heal—“I can’t sir…for I have no one to put me into the pool” (John 5:7). He had waited by that pool’s edge for so long that he had lost hope of ever being healed. To him, timing was everything because you had to be the first person in the pool when the angel of the Lord stirred the water. Timing was on this man’s mind all the time. Problem is, he focused on his version of timing instead of God’s version of timing.
Now let’s get back to the Beautiful Gate. Isn’t it so like God to place a lame beggar (which honestly doesn’t create a pretty image, does it?) at a Beautiful Gate? This gate wasn’t just a rod iron creation like the one I have on my back fence. No, this gate was ornate, majestic, adorned with gold and silver, and unlike any of the other gates. This was a picture of complete brokenness and humility versus the proud and the beautiful. It was also a perfect place for God to show up and show off because His timing is perfect.
Sure, Peter and John had limited funds, but they could have given this beggar something. Jesus had told them to take care and love the poor. But instead of offering some change (much to the dismay of the beggar), they wanted to give him something more.
Again, I ask this question, how many times had Peter and John walked past this beggar? And then I ask this question, why was that day the day they stopped and looked this man in the eyes?
The only answer I can come up with: God’s perfect timing.
Peter and John were men filled with the Holy Spirit. They were operating in the power of the Holy Spirit. That moment, the Holy Spirit moved them to stop and stare intently into the beggar’s eyes. Why the eyes? Jesus said, “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your vision is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your vision is poor, your whole body will be full of darkness” (Matthew 6:22–23). Somewhere in his eyes, a glimmer of hope still existed.
A sliver of hope existed which resulted in faith in action. This man and the paralytic man by the pool stood up the instant the command was given to get up. The healing wasn’t about Jesus, Peter, John, the paralytic man or the beggar. It was all about God, His timing, and it was all for His glory. As a result of both of these healings, many people witnessed and heard about the miracles taking place, and because of it, many were added to the body of believers, and God’s plan moved forward.
I have a hard time waiting on God’s timing. I don’t have a physical need for healing like these men, but I have a burning desire to be used by God in ways that seem unreachable and unattainable right now. Some days I feel like the beggar at the gate desperately asking God for just a little crumb to keep me going. I often feel like everyone else has had the opportunity to get in the pool, but I am still at the edge. But God, in his grace and mercy, drops nuggets of love and encouragement upon me through His Word and His whispers:
It’s not my timing yet,” He says, “but know my timing is perfect.
Through my eyes, as He looks at me, He sees my soul.
What do your eyes reveal about you today? Are you waiting for a need or desire? Please don’t be hopeless in your waiting. The beggar and the paralytic man both waited close to forty years for their unexpected moment of healing. David had to wait before he became King. Even Jesus had to prepare for thirty years before His ministry started. It’s all about His timing…and our faith when He says “now.” 

Erin Olson

Founder and CEO of Sandalfeet Ministries

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