Timing is everything. Scoff all you want at the concept that there is a reason for everything, but I’ve seen it. God is not only sovereign over the revolutions and revivals and miracles; he’s sovereign over the minute details of our everyday lives as well. He’s not a brutal puppet master or an anxious chess player, but he is God. He is outside of time, but he works in the lives of those– us– glued to the timeline. And man, does he work wonders.
God’s timing is running into the same homeless woman on multiple occasions and getting to talk to her and treat her to a meal again.
God’s timing is being in the dairy section of Kroger at the same moment as a weeping woman on a motorized cart who happened to have your name and just needed to buy cereal and diapers for the kids at home, but because of a series of events couldn’t pay for it.
God’s timing is arriving late to an open mic night at a local coffee shop and singing a worship song that happens to bring up painful memories for a young man sitting near the stage, a young who is willing to talk about his life because of that connection.
Each of these experiences have happened to our team this summer, and I’ve realized that God’s timing is finding yourself with someone else who needs to be found at that moment. What you do with that moment can spark or simmer something deeply needed, eternally powerful, and inexplicably beautiful.
Sometimes I react well to these providential encounters, going as far in obedience to God’s call to love my neighbor as I can. Sometimes it takes all the courage I have just to make a second-rate effort. And sometimes I can hesitate long enough to just ignore the opportunity altogether. It’s that sneaky old paradox of God’s providence and human responsibility playing out moment by moment in my own life. He provides the opportunity, his Spirit prods mine, and I can either follow or go my own way.
It’s how life is. And it’s really how life has been this summer– I guess because I’m so in the mindset of being on mission everywhere I go, in everything I do. I’ve encountered some amazing believers here who really live this way. For them, it’s not just a summer internship mindset; it’s a way of life. And I so desperately want that to be true for me.
Half the battle is being flexible; being available and willing to drop what you’re doing and go hard after an opportunity to share Christ’s love. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way, multiple times.
But spontaneity isn’t the only way God can show his awesomeness in the timing of our lives. There is also great power in consistency. Though we’ve struggled some with this in Atlanta because of our schedule and the nature of where we are, who we are working with, and what we’re doing, another Generation Send intern in the New York crew shared a cool story with me about how God worked in his consistency. Scott told me:
“In the first week of my time in New York I had decided to search for a coffee shop to spend my mornings. After a few attempts, I settled on this small, quaint café called the Tin Cup. I would spend a least an hour a day there. I would drink coffee, chat with the baristas, work on my computer, and do my devotions. My goal was to be a presence in this small community.
Over the last couple of weeks I have seen the great things that can come out of consistency in my own life. One day I was making small talk with the owner and he asked me,
‘Are you a Bible scholar?’
‘I aspire to be,’ I replied. ‘Why do you ask?’
‘I’ve seen you read the Scriptures in the morning.’
This sparked a forty-five minute spiritual conversation about what I believe and what he believed. Even though he didn’t break down and accept Jesus into his heart right then and there, he recognized that I was someone he could talk to about spiritual things. Cool stuff happened that day.”
It’s amazing. God isn’t stingy with our schedules or even our lack of them. Now matter how our time is directed, he finds ways to interject his purposes. Our job is to keep our eyes open, our hearts willing, and our hands ready.
COMMENT: How has God surprised you either in your spontaneity or consistency?
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