God’s Timing and Weird Bible Passages

Never underestimate God’s timing. I don’t mean this as a cheap throw away line either, some clichéd response. I mean for real.

In Acts 8 we are told about an Ethiopian who is leaving Jerusalem and reading Scripture in his chariot. The Holy Spirit told Philip to go talk to him right as he was reading Isaiah 53. How convenient that the Ethiopian was reading right at the one spot in the Old Testament where the death of Jesus Christ is most obvious!

Imagine if the Ethiopian was reading the chapter about skin diseases. Philip in his own timing walks up to him, “hey, what’ch’ya reading?”

“Well, I’m reading this thing about the scab on the skin and the color of the hair growing out of it. What’s the deal with the skin disease chapter?”

“Pppbbbt,” Philip shrugs his shoulders. “No idea.”

But nope Philip didn’t show up while Leviticus was being read; he showed up during Isaiah 53. Lucky for him!

I was in pastoral ministry for over 20 years. Rarely did I ever have an Acts 8 moment like Philip. I had plenty of the skin disease moments! What happened with Philip isn’t normative, in other words, it shouldn’t be expected all the time. But there are moments when seemingly amazing timing is involved!

So, what gives? How come so many of my pastoral conversations were not deeply insightful or didn’t seem to lead to any massive spiritual insight? Was God’s timing off?

Nope. You can’t win em all! Some plant, some water, but God gives the increase. God is working in you and in the other people you are dealing with. We are to always be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us. Our job is to live out that hope so people would ask a question.

It is also possible to quench the Spirit, to not respond as we should. Sometimes we get afraid or embarrassed. Sometimes we hide our light under a bushel so no one will ask about the hope in us. Sometimes the timing is off, not because God messed up the schedule, but because we weren’t ready or submissive to the opportunity.

God has good timing, but you can’t expect every second of every day to be falling into a magical everything is going my way life. That’s not reasonable, nor is it a biblical conclusion. But be faithful to do your part as God’s Word has directed—grow in Christ, produce that spiritual fruit by exercising your spiritual gifts, do good works so you are not unfruitful. Then be ready for the opportunity when the time comes. And hope that you don’t have to explain the skin disease chapter!

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