By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

God's Timing

The book of Ecclesiastes has the famous passage about an appropriate time for everything:

There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to uproot the plant.
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to tear down, and a time to build.
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather them; a time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.
A time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away.
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to be silent, and a time to speak.
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
Source link (NAB Translation).

We often get frustrated at the delays we face--we naturally want all good things now, and we want them continually without any interruptions. An awareness of God's providential timing can enable us to maintain our peace in the face of delays and interruptions. It is common to read commentaries describing the bleak view of reality of this book of the Bible. Yet, at least in this passage, I do not see bleakness but rather an invitation to become wise to the rhythms of God's pace. A distinction a friend recently mentioned to me might enable some of us to be a bit more patient and trusting about God's sometimes inscrutable pace: the distinction between what we want and what we are destined for by Providence. We have many wants, but wants are not determinative of where our fulfillment lies. The fulfillment of wants must often be delayed in order to win the crown, and sometimes certain wants simply have to be set aside as no longer relevant to our destiny in Jesus.