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God’s Timing is Everything

September 18, 2014

clocksWe pray for what we think we need and are usually seeking a quick fix or an instant answer.  It’s our version of popcorn Christianity.  Place our prayer in the magical mystical microwave, set the timer for two minutes, and say ‘Amen’.

Our minds and hearts are often clouded by our desires rather than God’s.  We know all the passages about ‘we have not because we ask not’ and ‘we’re to be the head and not the tail’.  While those are good and true, by themselves they’re out of balance with the entirety of the Bible.  We spend our life expecting things on our time frame instead of God’s.  And what if the answers from God aren’t done on our time frame?  What if those answers take a turn different than we expected?

Most times, if our eyes are closed to the possibilities, we’ll miss the opportunities of blessings He presents to us.  We’re so tightly wound into our anticipation and expectation that we miss the visitation.  It’s time to look at life differently.  It’s time to learn to live like Jesus did with His eyes and ears attentive to His Father.

John 5:19 — So Jesus explained, “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by Himself. He does only what he sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son also does. (NLT)

Let’s consider for a moment the Samaritan woman at the well.  You know the story.  Jesus comes to her, details her history, offers her living water of which she didn’t know anything.  All she could see at the beginning of the scene was her lifelong knowledge of hatred between the Jews and the Samaritans and of her own personal and moral failures. God the Father had an entirely different plan for her and she was about to encounter the One who would change her life forever.

Philippians 2:6-8 — Who, though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a Servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. (ESV)

More than anything else, Jesus lived a life of complete obedience to God.  That is the example He gave.  He lived to bring honor and glory to His Father by being completely obedient to Him.  Jesus explained this to His disciples by saying He could do nothing by Himself, but only what He saw from the Father.  You have to keep that in mind when you read of His encounter with this adulterous Samaritan woman.  So let’s take a deeper look at this story.

John 4:3-4 — He left Judea and departed again for Galilee.  And He had to pass through Samaria. (ESV)

Most Jews would not walk through Samaria.  The land of half-breeds were considered lowly scum; unclean; bitterly hated.  It was like the Crips and the Bloods.  The two factions despised each other.  So for a Jew to go through Samaria meant one of two things: either he urgently needed to get through the area (a three day journey on foot, saving several additional days if they were to travel around Samaria) OR they were on a specific mission.  In this case, as already seen above, Jesus was on mission … His Father’s mission.  And as we’ll discover, God’s timing is perfect!

Jesus arrives at a village around midday.  This is a time when you might see men moving about with work, but you wouldn’t see women coming to the town well to draw water.  That was customarily done in the morning and at night, but women of ill repute tend to try to hide their shame and guilt.  Jesus, obviously Jewish, finds this Samaritan woman drawing water and He asks for a drink.  He starts a conversation with a woman most Jewish men would have sneered, scoffed, and disregarded.  She called Him on it and asked why He’d do such a thing.  Instead of answering her question He starts speaking life into her.

It’s important to note here that Jesus had sent His disciples to find food.  The ministry the Father had intended for this woman didn’t need their judgmental, critical, disgusted reactions.  Without them as a distraction, Jesus could speak straight to her heart and allow her the dignity of responding honestly and without condemnation.  That wasn’t His purpose.

John 3:17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. (ESV)

She’s obviously spiritually thirsty, but is confused by His answer about drinking of living water which leads to eternal life.  She wants it.  Needs it.  And then Jesus brings it all home.  “Go and bring your husband.”  He confronts her biggest shame — the very reason she gets water in the middle of the day instead of with the rest of the respectable women.  God knew exactly when Jesus would reach this town and exactly when this woman who desperately needed mercy and restoration would be going to the well.  Coincidence?  In God there is no such thing!

Jesus speaks clearly into her life so powerfully that she responds, “Sir, I believe you are a prophet.”  Her theology is as messed up as her sinful life, but that doesn’t dissuade Jesus.  She’s busy trying to change the subject of her sin.  But His purpose isn’t to shame, condemn, and belittle sinners, but instead to extend mercy, love, and grace.  In doing so, He declares something more clearly to her than any of the Jews who had asked Him as much.  In verse 26 Jesus says, “I AM the Messiah.”

Here this Jewish man comes into her village, probably one of the very few men in town she didn’t know, and opens her life before her.  While trying to live out her life hiding from the town gossips God meets her on her turf.

By this time the disciples come back and are shocked He’s talking to this woman.  I’m sure they knew something was up, but they dared not ask.  To take a situation in which they [the disciples] felt awkward they try to change the topic, “um, hey, we brought you some food.”  The boys were a bit dense. Jesus told them He’d already been fed and the disciples looked at one another and said, “Did someone already bring Him food?”

Here was Jesus’ response …

John 4:34 — Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.” (ESV)

The result was an entire Samaritan village asking Jesus to stay for a few days and many of them believed not just because of the testimony of this woman with a past, but because the Father had a plan and an obedient Son.

We need to learn to take our eyes off our proverbial clock or telling God exactly how He needs to answer us.  We desperately need to listen to the still small voice whispering and leading us.  We need to open our mouths in obedience and let Him fill it with words that will minister to hearts and feed our own soul at the same time.  God doesn’t always answer our prayers on our time frame or in the way we want.  If we can get to that place in our lives, we’ll be able to clearly see His hand in our lives.  After all, as His children, isn’t that what we really want?

I’m reminded of a line from the Rich Mullins song, Hold Me Jesus …
“I’d rather fight You for something I don’t really want than to take what You give that I need.”

Father forgive us for living with a heart that is always trying to please ourselves instead of You.

God’s calling His people to walk with a soft heart and ears attuned to the voice of the Holy Spirit.  I wish I could say I’m doing this perfectly, but I have my own failings.  That won’t stop me though.  I continue to daily pray for more of Him and less of me.  I want to have a heart that fully says as Jesus did, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to accomplish His work.”

— Pastor Rick

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