“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…God has made everything suitable for its time” Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 11a
When I was a kid, I loved to watch Peter Pan. The version with Mary Martin, that is. Every year in the spring, our local New York station would broadcast Peter Pan and Mary Martin would fly from side to side of the screen, the Lost Boys would refuse to grow up, and Cyril Richard as Captain Hook would flee the crocodile that had taken his hand. Periodically through the show, you would hear the “tick-tock” of the crocodile, and that inexorable time sound would strike fear into the heart of the pirate crew.
There are occasions today when it seems that time is moving as inexorably as the “tick-tock” of the crocodile, moving forward in ways that strikes fear into the bravest of hearts. Just a few weeks ago many clergy were scrambling to put together bulletins and sermons for at least four or five services over the 8 days of Holy Week, and the “tick-tock” sounded loud in our ears.
There are other times when the deadline we face is of our own making. We may want a church committee to complete an action by a certain time or vote to move forward right now! And sometimes, it feels like the crocodile is running toward us. It is important for us to remember that not everything needs to be done on our time. Sometimes, we need to wait on God’s time when things seem to come slowly, or recognize that God is moving forward with or without us when time races by. Some things we can control, for other things we need to listen for God’s time and respect that God’s time may not be ours. Another translation of Ecclesiastes 3:11a says “God has made everything beautiful in its time.” So whether we wait upon the Lord, or move forward convinced of the urgency of the time, let us do so only after we have stopped, prayed and listened for God’s will.
Prayer: Gracious God, in the fullness of time you sent your son, not when we wanted it, not when people were convinced that they had to have a Saviour, but when you judged the time to be right. Help us to wait patiently for your will, to act quickly when you call us, and to depend on you to set the agenda for each day. Amen.