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A Stroll At Leisure With God

The Lord's Timing, Revealed in So Many Ways

I’m always a little hesitant to mention movies for many of the obvious reasons, but last night, my family and I viewed “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” The plot and story were okay, but of course, the main thing I liked about it was that it is set in India.

The depiction of life there brought back so many good memories of our vision trip there in March 2014. What a fascinating country and I still appreciate so much the opportunity to keep in touch with several of the “nationals” we met while we were there. These on-going relationships are such a blessing.

During the course of the movie, I searched Google for the exact location of the film. Apparently, the producers shot the film in two cities in the state of Rajasthan, in the northwest part of the country. My only frame of reference to this location is the city of Mumbai that is apparently somewhat near. Mumbai is the city we flew into initially before catching a connecting flight to Kolkata.

Life on the street and the sights and sounds shown in this movie resonated with me.

Curiously, one of the main memories that came flooding back was the two nights we spent in the Baptist guesthouse in Bangalore before returning to the States. I did not sleep well either of those two nights because of the sounds of all the critters just outside my window. One of the species was the monkey. They make a lot of noise, and I got the idea very quickly that one would not want to mess with a monkey in the wild.

Well, anyway, I was so thankful that the Lord allowed Pam, Nancy, and me along with the group from Ken Caryl, to go on that trip. I hope to be able to go back. With all this cancer stuff, the timing just has not been right.

That brings me to the topic for today: TIMING. I think it is important to affirm that everything, absolutely everything operates on God’s timetable. There is no such thing as random events.

Several passages I read this morning in Professor Horner’s plan reminded me of this. Matthew 2 tells the story of the birth of Jesus. Of course, THAT event happened at exactly the right time in human history (as Galatians 4:4 reminds us). Interestingly enough, timing continued to be crucial in the story of Jesus’ early years Joseph, Mary, and Jesus had to wait to return to Judea as the dust had settled from Herod’s senseless massacre of baby boys.

In his sermon before the Jews stoned him, Stephen recounted the history of Israel, his narrative literally dripping with one reference to another about timing. Moses’ life divided rather neatly into three forty-year periods. Here is how I would categorize them: Period one, birth to forty—Moses trying to do it his own way; Period two, in obscurity on the backside of the wilderness tending sheep—God breaking Moses so that He could use him to do things His way; and Period Three—leader of the Israelites out of Egypt—leading a nation to do it God’s way. In summary: my way, His way, and the rocky way.

One more: notice this statement from the prophet Jeremiah: “From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, even to this day, these twenty-three years the word of the LORD has come to me, and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened” (Jeremiah
25:3 NASB).

Jeremiah preached 23 years to folks who did not listen and certainly did not obey God.

Among the mental challenges I face through this cancer experience is that I am struggling with God’s timing. I was first diagnosed in the Summer of 2010 as we celebrated the 50
th Anniversary of FSBC. All of us had high hopes of a real surge as we embarked on the next stage of the journey of our church.

Quite the opposite has occurred in many ways (not all ways) over the past five years as I have dealt with this disease. How long will I continue to be incapacitated with cancer? When will the Lord heal me, if indeed that is His intent?

At the time of our anniversary, I had served this church 21 years, and the Lord had blessed me with great health, where I rarely even visited a doctor or thought of one. Now…

I have to keep coming back to a verse that often comes to mind these days. I did not read this verse in Horner’s plan this morning but I want to cite it:
My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me” (Psalm 31:15, NIV).

Lord, you hold the watch and the timer and the alarm. I don’t get all these numbers. They don’t make sense to me, but I know they do to you. I trust that and kiss the hand that holds my times. I love you. Amen.
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