In a house full of boys, I have learned a thing or two about appreciating epic trilogies when they make it to film. We know how to binge watch with the best of them. I am especially stoked when God is woven into them the way He is in the Lord of the Rings movies. One of my favorite lines in Fellowship of the Ring is when Gandalf arrives in the Shire. Frodo accuses him of being late and he responds frankly “A wizard is never late. He arrives precisely when he intends to.” Then they burst into awkward laughter for what seems like forever, and it kind of melts my heart. I get it. I’m a hobbit, bouncing around through the Shire without a whole lot to do but wait on the wizard to show up and do something awesome, so it always seems like he’s late. I know God isn’t a wizard, and life isn’t always lush green grass and cute people dancing and throwing parties in cute houses. But I also know that He is never late, He arrives precisely when He intends to.
“I waited patiently for the Lord, he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-3
It is easy, in the wait, to forget how timely our Dad always shows up. I’m not suggesting that we ever have to wait on Him to come around, He’s omnipresent and awesome that way, so we don’t have to wonder if He’s here. He is. But His provision sometimes takes much longer than we deem necessary. His answers don’t always show themselves when we think they should. His faithfulness isn’t always packaged the way we “ordered.” Even still, when we wait, with patience our banner, He bends down and listens. He pulls us up out of the pit we dig with worry and doubt. He sets us firm and secure on His promises. He gives us a new song, a story of how He came through just in time. When we sing that song loud as we sit perched with a fresh view of all that transpired in the process, the people around us see and hear Him in the realest way possible.
My family is still waiting, waiting on our house to be finished so we can move. It’s been a long time coming and I keep getting tired in the wait. In fact, I spend more time than I’d like to admit asking God to just “show up already.” A month ago I would have told you we’d be long gone and settling in our new place by now and it just isn’t so. I had the most ridiculous encounter recently, that broke my heart over my whining. Our church held VBS, as it always does this time of year. Since we hadn’t moved yet, I volunteered to work, as did my two oldest boys, and my middle guy got to go. I spent the week corralling a group of wild third graders through soccer drills and snack sessions and encounters with Jesus. One of the sessions hit me particularly hard as I watched hundreds of kids responding. They were ditching their shame labels, the names they’d been called by people, the things they were believing about themselves that didn’t line up with the way God saw them. As they flocked to the wall, peeling stickers off their chest that said things like “stupid,” “ugly,” “not good enough,” tears started rolling down my face. I had spent so many days wishing myself away from that very spot, and had never considered that God had orchestrated the whole thing. I wasn’t stopping long enough to think about how a delay in one area means more time in another, divine appointments, a chance to love on someone that you’d never get if you were gone.
God is never late. He arrives precisely when He intends to.
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