God Is Never Late; He’s Seldom Early; He’s Always Right On Time. I’ve heard this saying so many times. It’s even the title of a book by Stan Toler. And as much as I love God, this is one particular aspect of his personality that I just haven’t learned to appreciate yet.
I want God to be early most of the time!
Pete and I have lots of experience with God’s sense of appropriate timing. We’ve received checks hours before major bills were due. He’s provided answers to prayer at the very last moment. God even arranged to bring a plane on the runway back to the gate so that Pete could board it! (You can read that story here.)
As we’ve been prepping our existing home for sale, it seems that anything that can go wrong, has gone wrong. Appliances that worked just fine until now are breaking. People we hire to make repairs never show up and never call. When we finally get in touch with them, it turns out that they decided not to take the job after all. I wish they’d have let us know!
I’ve written about the outside stain touch-up being the wrong color, so that the front of our house looks like a patchwork of brown and black. (If you missed that post, you can read it here.) We’re still dealing with that mess—how do you get opaque black stain off weathered cedar siding?
In the meantime, our new house is coming along splendidly. There were a few mistakes that were quickly handled by the builders. There have been a few wonderful surprises as well. That’s how we want life to be—straightforward, what we expect or better, with no setbacks.
As a result of their expertise, it looks like we’ll be moving in several weeks earlier than we planned. That’s wonderful! Except…
We still don’t have our old house listed. And time is running out.
God, why can’t you be early?
Of course, this is a major topic in our conversations with God: “Lord, you know we need to sell this house before we close on the new one. You told us to move. You’ve guided us every step of the way. So why does our listing date keep slipping?”
He immediately answered, “You know I love last minute timing. That’s how I get the glory!”
Yes, I know.
Sometimes, God doesn’t work until the last minute because he’s trying to spare us the dread of what’s coming. I appreciate that. If Pete had known that he was going to be hit by a car, how would he have felt about getting on that plane to South Africa? Yes, God planned to heal him, but even so, who would choose to go through all that pain? Now, looking back, Pete says it’s the greatest experience of his life.
Sometimes, God knows what would happen if the easy plan works out, and he has something better in store. Perhaps the workmen that didn’t show up would have made things worse. We’ve had several in that category already. Perhaps they needed to be elsewhere, for some unknowable purpose, whereas the guy we hired needs to be here. Who knows? Not us.
Then, as Pete points out, those amazing “come from behind” sporting events, where there’s an amazing last-minute victory, make great stories. But to come from behind, you have to be losing. Right now, we’re months behind schedule, with a seemingly insurmountable stain problem. From our perspective, it’s hopeless. We’ll never sell our house in time—and who would buy it the way it currently looks? They’ll lose interest before they ever get in the door! (Or at the very least, expect a substantial discount.)
God has us just where he wants us. We have to depend on him. There’s no other option. He has our full attention, which is exactly his purpose in the first place. And when he comes through for us, who will get all the praise and thanksgiving? God will!
Just yesterday, a series of “chance meetings” with split-second timing yielded a stain removal expert. He just happens to be available (highly unlikely, this time of year). We’ve hired him to handle everything relating to the outside of our house, plus the remaining touch-up work inside. You can bet we prayed first@ God confirmed that this is his provision.
The house goes on the market in two weeks. I expect it will sell just in time.
I can’t wait to move!