Few phrases carry the relief of, “At just the right time…” You can feel the tension of waiting discharged by the recognition that things worked out according to plan. That phrase has the benefit of hindsight.
I’ll never forget sitting in class with Wes Smith at Valley Forge Christian College. He had us translate Galatians 4:4:
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law…”Galatians 4:4
Wes had a way of stopping us at significant points, almost as if to say, “Do you realize what this passage says?” Through the 300-400 years between the Old and Testament, at the point of the Pax Romana, as Rome developed a road system to carry the message of Jesus, when Mary and Joseph lived; God brought Jesus to earth to rescue us.
At just the right time…
Paul, the author of Galatians, writes this letter to a group of people attempting to make the work of God happen on their own. They had substituted performance for relying on the grace of God. They had come to believe and live out a gospel of earning, which was never Jesus’ gospel in the first place.
To a people like us that can fall into the trap of thinking that earn God’s love and affection – Paul reminds the Galatians and us that, “At just the right time…Jesus came for you.”
We live most of lives in the in-between. Longing to say, “at just the right time,” but knowing that phrase stands a distance away.
Waiting on the “right time” can come in the following places:
Finishing up classes to graduate with a degree.
Faithfully serving in a role that seems like a dead end.
Doing all you can do to reconcile a relationship, but knowing the ball is their court to respond.
Packing your boxes while it takes weeks for the house to close.
These circumstances remind us how much control we really have. By manipulating the situation, we sabotage the future. By passively doing nothing, we miss opportunities. Yet, Jesus simply lays out an invitation to carry his light burden rather than us trying to take on more than we were ever meant to.
In these in-between times, we discover areas of growth. Sometimes God humbles the areas of pride. Often, we relinquish our desire to micromanage situations and people. We receive the message loud and clear the role Jesus has given us. Somewhere between all of these lessons, Jesus provides a depth of grace for others experiencing the same. We learn to listen more rather than spout our opinions and advice.
Galatians 4:4 provides us with good news. We no longer have to make the “right time” happen. If Jesus can do it through His birth, death, and resurrection, how much more can experience this in everyday life.
Bill Kirk, one of my pastors, would say, “God is seldom early. Never late. But always on time.”
At just the right time reminds of the hope we have Jesus. Not wishful thinking, but the realization the same Jesus who came at the right time to rescue us, works in the everyday circumstances of our lives. That leads us away from cynicism and closing our options. It keeps us from the idealism of making our reality sound rosier than actuality.