Throughout the day, I get countless urgent requests: I need help going to the bathroom, get me a snack, sign my planner, get me that toy, I need this washed, can you help me… the list goes on and on. These requests often come at a time when I am already trying to do ten other things, so I often say, “just a minute” to buy me a little time. Though I say that I will get to the task in just a minute, it very rarely turns out that way. It may be five minutes, twenty minutes, or sometimes several hours before I actually get to it. By that time, whoever made the urgent request begins to feel like a minute is actually forever. It makes sense that a toddler or preschooler has a hard time grasping the difference between seconds, minutes, hours, or even days — at least in my house.
This idea of timing has been on my mind a lot lately. Sometimes I feel like God is saying “just a minute” to me. I’ve got a little project I’ve been working on. Originally, my plan was to have this done by Christmas; then, because of circumstances beyond my control, it was pushed to January. More circumstances, more time, and now I think it should finally be ready by the first week of February. I get frustrated when things don’t work out when I want them to, when I have an urgent request and God says, “Just a minute.”
A few recent tragedies have also left me thinking about timing. Cancer and car accidents have taken people from our area before we were ready to let them go. My little sister’s 22nd birthday would have been this month, but Kallie died in a car accident when she was only 13. When things like this happen, we often think that the ones we love are taken from this world too early; we want “just a minute” more.
I guess the concept of time that my little ones struggle with is difficult for me, too. As I’ve been reading in John, the Lord’s been teaching me that time is not about my perspective but instead his. Jesus’s life was full of controversy with the Pharisees. They were constantly trying to catch him red-handed in the act of violating their precious laws and rituals. When they did catch him, they often had the opportunity to punish him for the violations. In John 7, Jesus was in Judea teaching during the Jewish Festival of Tabernacles. The Pharisees were disturbed by Jesus’s teaching and argued about whether he was the Messiah. Verse 30 says, “At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come” (emphasis mine). On the last day of the festival, Jesus was again teaching and “the chief priests and Pharisees sent temple guards to arrest him” (John 7:32). Later, though, we read, “Some wanted to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him” (John 7:44). In John 8, Jesus is again trying to explain his identity and relationship with his Father in heaven. He tries to tell the Pharisees that they are ignorant to his true identity and that they do not know him or his Father who sent him. “He spoke these words while teaching in the temple courts near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come” (John 8:20, emphasis mine). Later, after more of Jesus’s testimony, the Jews were ready to punish him for his claims of being sent by God, “At this, they picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus hid himself, slipping away from the temple grounds” (John 8:59).
I am not even halfway through the Gospel of John, and already several times Jesus was “just a minute” away from being arrested and put to death. Though the Pharisees had all those opportunities, Jesus continued to live and teach among them. The timing wasn’t right for Jesus’s capture. God had already determined the exact moment when Judas would betray Jesus, the exact moment Pontius Pilate would wash his hands, the exact moment Christ’s hands and feet would be nailed to the cross, and the exact moment the Savior would take his last breath to pay for our sins. Are you noticing a theme here? God knew the exact moment, and Jesus would not be captured one minute too early or one minute too late according to God’s will. Despite the many opportunities to capture Christ, God was saying, “just a minute” so that all things would work according to his plans.
This theme is true for our lives, too. God knows the exact moment my little project will be ready. He knew the exact moment my sister would take her last breath. He knows the exact moments in all of our lives. Sometimes we find ourselves impatiently asking him, “Lord when?” We can imagine him responding with, “just a moment, my moment.” Then we must find a way to wait on the Lord’s timing and trust that his will will be completed at the exact moment he has determined. It’s hard. So many times we feel it’s too early or too late, but to our all-powerful, all-knowing Lord, it’s exactly the right moment.
Lord, help me to trust in your timing. Thank you for caring so much about me that you know what I need and the exact moment in which I need it. I want my life to be lived according to your will and your timing. Please help me to be patient, help me to trust, help me to feel your love.