I read a book by Mark Batterson this past year. Actually, I’ve read the book a couple of times, and finished it up again toward the end of 2014. In the book, Batterson has this great line about God’s timing. He talks about how God loves to make a grand entrance into our lives, showing up in “just the nick of time...” in order to display His grace, His power and His divine sense of timing. When it comes to our struggles and questions, we usually have a vastly different timeline than God does. We want answers now, we want His provision well-ahead of time, and we usually want miracles in our timing, not His. God sees the big picture, though, and He knows the exact best moment to provide, bless, answer or show up. So as Batterson writes, “Rarely is God early...but He is NEVER late!”
Have you ever found yourself in God’s waiting room? Have you walked thru a health difficulty and wondered if God would step in? Maybe you’re going thru a job change like Traci and I are right now, and you’re wondering how to pay the bills or find a place to live when you don’t have any income? Are you experiencing heartache in your marriage right now, and you’re asking God to step in and “fix” it? Do you have a child that’s making some really poor decisions? Are you worried about your education, wanting God to intervene as you look to the future? Is your job situation lousy and do you find yourself asking God to give you another option so you can leave? Do you have more going out then coming in to your checkbook each month?
We’ve all been there at one time or another, waiting on God to show up and do His thing. Waiting for Him to intervene in our lives and to take a hurt and mend it, turn a wrong into a right or just plain help out when we don’t know where to turn next. I’m there right now, asking Him to clearly reveal the next step in our lives as Traci and I embark on this unexpected new chapter in our lives.
This one thing I know while I wait: God loves a grand entrance.
Overboard Ministries was forged out of a message I prepared for camp, from Matthew 14. After Jesus has preached an all-day message and performed a miraculous feeding of over 5,000 people, he ends the long day by dismissing the crowds, sending his 12 disciples home on a boat, and then heads up a hillside to spend some time praying to the Father.
While He is up there, and while the disciples are lazily crossing the Sea of Galilee, a storm comes charging over the top of the mountains and crashes hard on the water. A reasonably tranquil trip is suddenly thrown into chaos and the 12 disciples become fairly concerned about their own safety.
Think about how God could have handled this:
- He could have prevented the storm from the beginning.
- He could have stopped the storm shortly after it formed.
- He could have made the disciples fall into a deep sleep, and slept through the storm.
- He could have teleported them to the shore and boycotted the storm all together.
- He could have provided better seats, in-boat food service and a large bucket of ice cream.
Instead, what does God do? He sends His Son to make a rather grand entrance!
When Jesus finishes praying on top of the hill side, He heads down to the water and takes a stroll across the lake to see how the boys are doing. In John’s Gospel we find out that He actually wasn’t going to visit the boys in the boat, He was walking to the other side to meet them at the shore. Suddenly the disciples see a figure walking on the water and their night has just gone from bad to worse, because now there is a ghost walking on the turbulent lake!
Matthew 14 says they “cried out in fear” [translation: screamed like little girls!] believing the end was in sight.
And isn’t that where we sometimes find ourselves? We look around at our circumstances, the storms in our lives are raging at full scale, nothing seems to be going our way, and we’re fairly certain that we’re at the end. We cry out in fear. You ever been there? Are you living there now? Are you living at that point where you’ve hit the end of your rope and you feel like there is nothing left to do but cry out in fear/anger/disappointment/confusion and hold on for dear life?
Suddenly God makes a grand entrance into the Matthew 14 story as Jesus reveals Himself. Peter miraculously walks with Him on water. Jesus calms the storm. He climbs in the boat and then takes it to the other side of the lake. Life continues with the dawn of the next morning.
If you’re in one of those seasons right now, let me encourage you to keep your faith rooted in the One who loves to make a grand entrance. Let me encourage you to trust the One who says, “All things work together for good, to those who love [me]...” and is quoted as saying, “[I] will supply all your needs according to [my] riches in glory...” and was even once quoted with these words, “[I] can do anything you know, fare more than you could ever imagine, guess or request in your wildest dreams...”
Believe me, I wish God would more frequently show up early (according to my schedule)! But when everything is said and done, I’m always glad He showed up on His schedule because I know, that He knows, the very best timing for me -- the time/place where my faith will be extended, my character will be forged and where I will become more of the man He wants me to be, better prepared for what He wants me to do.
I’m learning to trust Him more and more each day, even as I’m awaiting His grand entrance onto the stage of my story. If you’re in a pinch today, will you reaffirm your trust of God and His timing in your life? Will you pray like crazy for answers/money/miracles/jobs/children/spouse/health but be willing to wait for God to answer on His schedule? It’s not an easy task but the future will be best after God makes His grand entrance!
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water!