Click, click, click. Beep, beep, beep. That metronome used to drive me crazy as a beginning piano student. If you play piano (or some other instrument), maybe that little device was the bane of your early musical years, too.
Of course, my teacher had my best interests at heart, and thanks to her persistence and the nagging of that metronome, my timing improved. All along, I knew its steady beat was right, but I still resented it.
Am I that way with God’s timing? Are you? We might say we believe His ways are best, but truthfully, we’d rather speed up the tempo. However, when we rush ahead of God, we miss His perfect plan. Two Old Testament characters learned this lesson the hard way.
King Saul forgot his place.
As Israel’s king, Saul enjoyed many privileges and responsibilities. Offering burnt sacrifices was not one of them.
During the second year of his reign, he faced a critical test. Israel’s enemies, the Philistines, gathered to attack. Their numbers were “like the sand on the seashore in multitude” (I Samuel 13:5 ESV). In response, the men of Israel fled and hid themselves.
Although the text doesn’t contain the message, King Saul must have sent for the High Priest Samuel to come sacrifice to the Lord and intercede on their behalf. In reply, Samuel sent word he would be there in seven days (I Sam. 13:8).
Can you imagine the tension building inside Saul? His forces were scattered, and he couldn’t do anything to rally them until Samuel appeared. His panic grew as more men disappeared with each new dawn. At this rate, he wouldn’t have an army left to face the Philistines.
Finally, the day arrived, but Samuel did not. Too impatient to wait any longer, Saul offered the sacrifice himself.
Guess what? The Bible says that “as soon as he had finished offering the burnt offering,” Samuel arrived (I Sam. 13:10 ESV). Saul armed himself with excuses, but the bottom line was that he had disobeyed God. As a result, Samuel declared that God would not establish Saul’s kingdom (I Sam. 13:14).
Do we try to take things that don’t belong to us—or perhaps aren’t God’s design for us right now? Losing our place in a musical piece might leave us embarrassed, but getting out of sync with God’s plan can only bring regret.
Abram and Sarai rushed ahead of God’s plan.
In Scripture, God made a covenant, an unbreakable promise, with a man named Abram.
- In Genesis 12, God promised to make him “a great nation” (vs. 2) and give the land to his offspring (vs. 7).
- In Genesis 13, God told him that his descendants would be like “the dust of the earth,” meaning that no one could count them (vs. 16).
- In Genesis 15, God declared that his children would be as numerous as the stars in the sky (vs. 5).
There was only one problem. Abram and his wife Sarai were old and childless.
Perhaps at first, Abram believed God without question. But ten years passed from the initial promise when he was 75 years old (Genesis 12:4). Maybe he needed to “help God along.”
He wife suggested he have a child with her handmaid. The result of that union was a boy named Ishmael, but he was not to be the son of promise. Instead, God told Abram and Sarai they would have a son named Isaac (Genesis 17:19-21). He changed their names to Abraham and Sarah to underscore His promise that they would be parents of not just one son, but of many nations (Genesis 17:4, 16).
God’s promise came to pass, though not on their timetable. Twenty-five years after the promise in Genesis 12, Sarah bore Isaac to Abraham, now 100 years old (Genesis 21:5).
Although God always keeps His word, we often grow impatient. We think our timing is better—only to complicate our circumstances.
God’s promises endure.
Is there something you’ve been praying about for some time? Does God seem to be saying no or not yet?
God’s Word provides the encouragement we need to persevere. As we spend time in the Bible, we can identify unchanging truths and apply them to our circumstances.
Let’s look at one of them from Abraham’s story. This man had his share of doubts, but the Lord told him: Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward (Genesis 15:1b NKJV).
I wonder if these words were God’s way of reminding Abraham that greater even than the child of promise was His own presence in Abraham’s life.
Try placing your name in that verse. Say it out loud.
Do not be afraid, ______________. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.
The Lord is our shield and our reward—even while we’re waiting, even if God ultimately says no or reshapes our request.
God’s timing is always perfect.
We would never tell a metronome that it’s timing is wrong and ours is right. We’re aware, sometimes painfully so, that it’s on tempo and we’re not.
If we wouldn’t argue with a mechanized device, why do we argue with God? How often do we tell Him that He needs to answer our prayers … for a friend, a relationship, a growth spurt, a scholarship … NOW?
Even though we may think our timing makes sense, the truth is we can’t see or understand God’s schedule. In the Bible, the book of Isaiah speaks to this very truth:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV).
Let’s stop resenting His timing and learn to conform to it. Our unchanging God has planned the perfect rhythm for our lives, and when we follow it, we can enjoy His best.
This post first appeared in the Girlz 4 Christ Fall Issue. To read more great content for teens girls, subscribe at girlz4christ.org.
Our Maker’s Metronome: God’s timing is always perfect – @kjhogrefe (Click to Tweet)