by Nan Corbitt Allen
My times are in Your hand…Psalm 31:15 NIV
I did a double take this morning.
As I was passing a window that leads to my back yard, I noticed something that wasn’t there yesterday. And it wasn’t there the day before or even several weeks before.
Back in the spring, I had planted some lovely, colorful flowers in a box that hangs on the railing of my back porch. I watered those flowers, I fed them, I nurtured them, and gave them plenty of sunlight. However, within a week or so they all died. Just like that. So I plucked them out of the soil and tossed them into the trash. What else could I do? I vowed to plant another batch later, so I just left the soil in the box and forgot about it.
This morning, however, a lone bloom caught my eye. Right where I had plucked his (or her) mates, there stood a gorgeous, perfect, proud little flower! I immediately started writing a dialogue for him (or her). “Hey guys, where’d everybody go? Guys?” OR “Hey, what do ya think of me now?”
I was a late bloomer myself so I understand.
I entered school in a state that had different age eligibility laws than where I finished school. I have a late fall birthday, and so when I transferred to another state, there were classmates who were a whole year older than I was. A lot of my school years I played catch-up—and with that came a lot of waiting: waiting to be old enough to date, to drive, to have certain privileges.
You’d think I’d learn patience with all the waiting, but I didn’t. I strained against the days, months, and years often trying to make things happen out of sequence. Usually my efforts were in vain. It’s taken me this long to realize that God’s timing is so much better than mine (even though I still sometimes struggle to accept it).
When I was a young teen, there was a song titled “Turn! Turn! Turn!” on the radio recorded by a popular group called The Birds. To my surprise the lyrics were straight out of the Bible—the third chapter of Ecclesiastes—which, according to my parents, made it appropriate for me to listen to. They even bought me the record!
Ecclesiastes 3 is a lesson in timing:
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-2 NIV).
Even my lone flower knows this. It waited patiently for the perfect moment, and when no one was looking, decided to bloom. When no one was looking. That was the message I took away from this morning’s random bloom. God is constantly at work and often I am too busy to see it, and then I am surprised to see that “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (NIV Ecclesiastes 3: 11). When no one was looking.
I have a friend who often reminds me that God is sometimes slow, but He’s never late.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV Romans 8:28).
All in good time.
About the author: Nan Corbitt Allen has written over 100 published dramatic musicals, sketchbooks, and collections in collaboration with Dennis Allen, her husband of 40 years. A three-time Dove Award winner, Nan’s lyrics and dramas have been performed around the world. Dennis and Nan have sold almost 3 million choral books.
Nan and Dennis live in Cleveland, GA where she teaches English and Creative Writing at Truett McConnell University. They have two grown sons and two beautiful grandchildren.
Nan’s book, Small Potatoes @ the Piggly Wiggly, is a collection of devotionals that reveal the great impact seemingly insignificant, routine experiences can have in our lives. She describes what she learned of God’s providence and wisdom while growing up in the Deep South in the 1950’s and 60’s.
Join the conversation: Has God’s timing for you ever proved way better than your expected time frame?