The Gift of God’s Timing
“Oh yeah, I'll bet this must be my Carolina basketball wind suit!” My son Jason wore a confident smile as he picked up his Christmas present.
My mind whirled as I gave him a suspicious glance. I’d wrapped that gift the day I made the purchase–and I’d wrapped it before he came home from school. How could he know what was in the box? Had my Christmas snoop struck again?
Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I figured maybe he was just guessing since that idea had been on the Christmas wish list he’d given me weeks earlier.
We continued opening gifts, each family member taking a turn until it was time for Jason to open his next one. I paid close attention as he ripped off the paper. He didn’t seem surprised at the contents of the box.
Hmm... did I smell a Christmas rat? My mama radar was now shouting alarms but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt one more time.
I observed carefully as he opened his next gift. “Oh, this has gotta be my new tennis shoes.”
“You are busted, young man.”
“Well, I might as well tell you how I knew what was in my presents.”
“Yeah, that would be a good thing to do,” my husband said while trying to hide a grin.
“Well, if you’ll remember, Mama got better at hiding things last Christmas, and this year she wrapped everything before I got home from school.
"I couldn’t take the suspense any longer. So I discovered that if I slit the tape on the present and squeezed the box, it popped open enough for me to see what was in there. Then I taped the paper shut again.”
Yes, my Christmas snoop had outsmarted me once again. But that’s not a problem because I love a challenge as much as Jason does--and Mama had a plan.
So the next year? All of Jason’s presents were beautifully sealed with duct tape.
That’s such a funny memory for our family, but it also provided Jason with a valuable lesson because he learned that by finding all his presents before it was time, it meant that Christmas Day wasn’t nearly as exciting.
Many of us do the same thing. We ask God for things and then we “help” Him move things along at the pace we consider appropriate. And then we’re disappointed when things don’t turn out in the manner we hoped.
I’ll be honest. Waiting isn’t one of my virtues. Most of the time I’m like one of those souped-up sports cars waiting impatiently at a red light. I’m ready to go!
But you know what I’ve discovered? Sometimes God is taking His time answering my prayers because He has something bigger in mind than what I’d intended.
With the beauty of hindsight, I’ve learned that often there were other pieces He had to put in place before everything could come together–and that if I’d wait until He was ready, there would be no ill-fitting pieces, no empty places that left gaping holes. You know, like when I try to put things together.
Are you in wait mode and you feel like you’ve waited forever for answers to your prayers? I’ve learned from experience that God’s timing is always perfect, and as my pastor, Rev. Ralph Sexton says, “Even when you can’t track Him, you can trust Him.”
I can’t help but wonder if God ever feels like using duct tape on me when I forget to wait for Him. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if He did.
Written by Michelle Cox
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