They say cooking is an art, but baking is a science.
Part of what makes baking scientific is that it often calls for exact timing.
When you cook a roast or a turkey in the oven, the estimated cooking time can vary. The meat will be in the oven for several hours, and the recipe might give you as much as a half-hour window to start checking for doneness.
But when you’re baking cookies, the recipe will sometimes only give you a two-minute span to remove them from the oven. You have to be on your toes so you don’t miss this window, but at least you have a greater degree of certainty as to when the baking process will be over.
We humans crave certainty, don’t we? And that’s especially true when we’re going through difficult things in our personal lives.
Wouldn’t you love it if God told us exactly when our time of suffering would end?
We wish God would give us assurances like:
“On April 5th you’ll be healed,” or “In 34 days your spouse will come back to you,” or “Six months from now, you’ll be offered your dream job.”
On occasion God does give His people specific timelines as to when certain things will happen:
God gave the Israelites advance knowledge through His prophet Jeremiah that they would go into captivity in Babylon for 70 years. It would be devastating, but at least they knew their suffering had an end date. Some would die in Babylon, but their children had hope of returning to their homeland at an expected time.
Jesus Himself told the disciples several times that He would be killed but would rise again after three days. Even with this specific, repeated information from Jesus, however, His disciples didn’t seem to understand or believe what He was saying. After the crucifixion they scattered, afraid for their lives: they certainly weren’t expecting to ever see Jesus again. They seemed shocked when Jesus actually did rise from the dead three days later.
Sometimes God tells us head of time when a certain season of our lives will end. Even when He does, however, we might miss the clues and not recognize what He foretold when it happens in front of our eyes.
More often, God keeps information about the timing of things close to His vest. He seems to consider this a “need-to-know” issue. Much of the time, to our frustration, He figures that we don’t actually need to know when certain things will happen in our lives.
In fact, God knows that it’s often much better for us if we don’t know the timing of future events. Think of it this way:
If we knew ahead of time exactly when our suffering would end or when justice or healing would come, we would coast and our faith wouldn’t grow. Our relationship with God probably wouldn’t deepen as much. We might give short shrift to our prayer life. And we wouldn’t be building a testimony of faithful endurance and perseverance to inspire others.
But when the future remains unknowable to us, we have to place our trust fully in God. Our faith muscles are stretched and strengthened through the waiting and trusting process. We have to rely on Scripture and prayer more. We become more mature Christians.
“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.” (Lamentations 3:25-26)
When the timing of events in our lives remains uncertain, we have to trust that God knows what’s best for us. We must have faith that He is lovingly working all things together for our good.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
So if you’re going through a period of waiting, keep trusting that your answer or breakthrough will happen all in good time.
All in God’s good time!
© 2021 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.