Jesus has his own timing, but his timing is always perfect. When we’re waiting on Jesus for something, we can trust his timing. The Bible says good things come to those who wait on the Lord. Young people need to be reminded that they can trust Jesus with the circumstances of their lives—even the ones that seem to be the very worst.
We can’t manipulate God, of course, but it’s good to know that Jesus will always be there to listen to us and to work out all things for good (Romans 8:28).
In the book of Genesis, Joseph faces more than his fair share of suffering. For starters, his brothers attack him and sell him as a slave. Then he’s taken to Egypt, where he’s imprisoned for a sexual assault he didn’t commit. If anybody had a good reason to despise his family, hate God, and completely lose his faith, it’s Joseph!
Years later, though, when Joseph has the perfect opportunity to take serious revenge on his brothers, he responds this way:
Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people. No, don’t be afraid. I will continue to take care of you and your children.” So he reassured them by speaking kindly to them. (Genesis 50:19-21)
It would be completely justifiable for Joseph to bitterly take revenge on his brothers. Instead, he sees his situation—all his terror and pain—from God’s perspective. A lot of time had passed, of course. Joseph was able to see the tough times in hindsight and see how God had used them.
At times, life feels completely unfair (check out this Jen Bradbury blog post on teenagers’ obsession with fairness), utterly painful, or absolutely infuriating. But we can learn from Joseph’s story that God still loves us and is still at work!
Even though Jesus’ timing isn’t necessarily ours, it’s always perfect. That’s evident in two stories from Mark 5:21-43. First Jairus, a synagogue leader, approaches Jesus on behalf of his sick daughter: “My little daughter is dying,” he said. “Please come and lay your hands on her; heal her so she can live” (verse 23).
As Jesus goes with Jairus, a desperate woman reaches for Jesus’ robe and is instantly healed. Her sickness had caused her to bleed nonstop for 12 years. We can all relate to this woman. We might not have a bleeding disease, but we all have things about ourselves we want to change, and no matter how hard we try, we can’t seem to do anything about them.
Verse 33 says the woman told Jesus “the whole truth.” Another translation says the woman told him her whole story. That’s a 12-year-long story, yet Jesus—who was on his way to help someone else—stopped and listened to the entire thing! If Jesus could focus on the story of one person among thousands trying to get at him, you can be sure he has time to listen to you. Jesus not only wants to heal you, he wants to know you. Jesus wants to share everything with you.
Before Jesus is finished talking to the woman, messengers come to tell Jairus: “Your daughter is dead. There’s no use troubling the Teacher now” (verse 35). Hearing the conversation, Jesus tells Jairus to have faith, not fear. Then he continues to the man’s home and heals the girl, who he said was only asleep (“Waiting in the Crucible”).
We may think we know what we need or want from Jesus. But instead of asking him for specifics all the time, consider praying this way: “Lord, I love you, and I know you love me and know what’s best for me. And so I trust your timing, and I trust you to do your very best in my life. Whatever may come, you will work it for good.”
Throughout Scripture—and throughout the lives of his followers today—God proves that we can count on him. That happened big-time to Elijah in 1 Kings 18:16-40, when he proposed a fire-and-water contest with prophet of Baal, a false god.
In a tough circumstance featuring Elijah’s successor, Elisha, God also came through miraculously. While doing so, he taught his people a lesson about their role in his workings. The story unfolds in 2 Kings 3:5-25. After chasing the King of Moab, the army runs out of water in a vast desert. God’s command? Dig ditches! He promises to fill them with water…yet he doesn’t send rain. The next morning, every ditch was full of water—and the army also notched a big victory. Before their need had been supplied, the people had to trust God and act.
Nineteenth-century preacher C.H. Spurgeon writes:
The armies of the three kings were famishing for want of water: God was about to send it, and in these words the prophet announced the coming blessing. Here was a case of human helplessness: not a drop of water could all the valiant men procure from the skies or find in the wells of earth. Thus often the people of the Lord are at their wits’ end; they see the vanity of the creature, and learn experimentally where their help is to be found. Still the people were to make a believing preparation for the divine blessing; they were to dig the trenches in which the precious liquid would be held. The church must by her varied agencies, efforts, and prayers, make herself ready to be blessed; she must make the pools, and the Lord will fill them. This must be done in faith, in the full assurance that the blessing is about to descend. By-and-by there was a singular bestowal of the needed boon. Not as in Elijah’s case did the shower pour from the clouds, but in a silent and mysterious manner the pools were filled. The Lord has his own sovereign modes of action: he is not tied to manner and time as we are, but doeth as he pleases among the sons of men. It is ours thankfully to receive from him, and not to dictate to him. We must also notice the remarkable abundance of the supply—there was enough for the need of all. And so it is in the gospel blessing; all the wants of the congregation and of the entire church shall be met by the divine power in answer to prayer; and above all this, victory shall be speedily given to the armies of the Lord.”
In both accounts, from 1 and 2 Kings, God works two different miracles to reveal how amazing he is. He rarely does the same thing twice. God wants us to see him for who he truly is—that he can be counted on.
What are you doing for Jesus? What trenches are you digging? Ask Jesus to make you ready to receive the blessings he’s so willing to bestow.