Phillips Brooks, the former New England pulpiteer, was known for his calm demeanor. So, you can guess the surprise of his associates when they found him pacing up and down the floor of his study like a lion in a cage. One of the friends asked, “What is the trouble, Dr. Brooks?” He abruptly responded, “The trouble is that I am in a hurry, but God isn’t.” There are times when we feel as if heaven’s clock is off by a few days, a few months, or a few years. God seems to be taking His time in answering that prayer, meeting that need, changing that circumstance, or bringing justice. There we sit in the waiting room, unattended and anxious. When we feel that way, guess whose clock needs to be reset?
One of the great paradoxes is that the eternal God is always on time (Eccles. 3:11). He who has sat upon His throne forever and who stands beyond the ordered sequence of temporal events nevertheless pays the strictest attention to the march of time. Our times are in His sovereign and secure hands (Psalm 31:15). All our days, and all that fill our days, are written down in His book (Psalm 139:16). The fact is that God’s timing is perfect.
Ask Abraham’s servant. He was on the road for weeks on the search for a bride for Isaac. He happened to arrive at a well at the exact time Isaac’s future wife was coming to water her sheep (Gen. 24:14–15). What a coincidence! No, what providence!
Ask the Shunammite woman. Her son had been brought back to life by the prophet Elisha. Several years later, she went to see the king about a property dispute. Lo and behold, Elisha’s servant was standing in the king’s presence at that very moment recounting the woman’s story (2 Kings 8:5). What a coincidence! No, what providence!
Ask Mary and Joseph. They were compelled to return to their place of birth for the purposes of a census under Caesar Augustus. There in the town of Bethlehem, Jesus would be born at the right time and the right place (Micah 5:2; Luke 2:1–6; Gal. 4:4). What a coincidence! No, what providence!
The eternal God is always on time. In all these cases, God orchestrated the details that brought the pieces together at the right time so that His plan would unfold in the right way. God is not in a hurry. He knows what He is doing in us and for us. God deserves our trust. God requires our patience. Don’t forget to set your watch to heaven’s time!