For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.
(Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV)
Over the years, God has used numerous circumstances to teach me about His ways. He often guides with patience, and yet, we often feel the need to walk quickly ahead. I’ve learned to slow down — and, of course, I’m still learning to — and when I do, I’m able to reflect on how I’ve seen His timing in my life.
I notice that He’s done so much more than I could ask or think, even when I thought it wasn’t possible. And I want to encourage you today with this simple truth: You can trust His guidance. You can hold onto His Word and trust His character, no matter what you’re facing.
So, with this in mind, here are three things I’ve learned when it comes to God’s timing:
1. Circumstances don’t need to be perfect for God’s timing to be perfect
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 ESV)
Know that God is more powerful than less-than-ideal circumstances. Romans 8:28 is an incredible reminder because we’re told that God works ALL things together for our good. It doesn’t say that all things will be good, but through His love, power, and wisdom, He can work all things — the challenging moments and the breakthroughs — for our good. It’s a beautiful thing that we serve a God who does not let anything go to waste.
God can work out His perfect will in a time when it doesn’t seem to make sense. 1 Corinthians 1:27 (NKJV) reminds us: “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.” God can align things in a way that only He can; He can make things possible where it genuinely seemed impossible. He’s the same God who parted the Red Sea and who raised the dead back to life. Remembering what He’s done will remind you that He is a limitless God; that’s why it’s important to follow His ways — not our fears, doubts, or limitations. Don’t let your weaknesses stop you from leaning on His strength.
2. There is a time for everything, and this current time has a specific purpose
Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand. (Proverbs 19:21 ESV)
Ecclesiastes 3:1 says it best: There is “a time for every matter under heaven.” Have you ever wanted to get a sneak peek into the future? We may have plans, dreams, and desires we’d love to see come to fruition. It’s easy for us to sometimes long for these things, to see God’s plan unfold in various ways, but consider this: There are things happening NOW that are part of God’s timing. I’ve always heard this saying — that God can be doing a million different things in our lives, but we may only be aware of a select few. Consider the beginning of Isaiah 43:19 (ESV): “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” This verse reminds me of an image: Like a seed, new life often develops “underground.”
So, please don’t get discouraged by what you don’t see. You may not see or understand how God is working, but He is active and wants to be an active part of your life. Don’t wait to dive into a deep, intimate relationship with Him. Ask Him how you should occupy yourself during this time; look for opportunities in your life and your faith to learn, grow, and serve. God hasn’t abandoned you. He is with you and has a purpose for you in every season. This season is no exception.
3. Instead of stressing about the “perfect time,” let God establish His perfect timing
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16:9 ESV)
I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve often been afraid of messing up God’s plan. But God continues to remind me that HE is the one who establishes my steps. I want to encourage you just the same: As you continue to follow the Lord, He can and WILL order your steps in this life. I encourage you to let go of your grasp and know that God’s timing is not something you need to guess at, stress about, or manipulate — it’s something you walk in.
God’s timing is not man’s timing. And so, walking in it comes from letting Him have control. As you walk with the Lord — spending time with Him, obeying His Word, and honoring Him with your life — your pace isn’t rushed, and it also isn’t falling behind. God’s timing is embracing trust. Walking confidently in His strength. Letting go of the false notion that it’s about your ability. Imagine this: How would your life change if you truly believed that God established your steps? How would that change your obedience? It’s not easy, I understand. Do your choices have an impact? Absolutely. But the truth is, God is more powerful than we are, and we can practice a lifestyle of surrender. He knows how to get His job done, so be open to His correction, conviction, and redirection. Remember Proverbs 19:21: His purpose stands, which means you cannot mess up His purpose. God isn’t banking on YOUR ability to get the timing right; let Him establish it.
Friend, I can’t stress enough that God can do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). I hope that as you wait and walk in His timing — in every season and every circumstance — you’re able to taste and see that He is good.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
(Ecclesiastes 3:11 ESV)
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