Neither late nor early; we are on time

“If only You would tear the heavens open and come down, so that mountains would quake at Your presence. . . to make Your Name known to Your enemies. . .”
(Isaiah 64:1,2 hcsb)

At 7:29 p.m., we arrived at a 7:30 p.m. appointment. My son asked if we were late, as we’d been delayed in traffic. “No,” I said, “we’re right on time.” My son then quoted J.R.R. Tolken from his Lord of the Rings, saying, “The wizard is never late or early; he is always on time.”

But what if we’d arrived at 7:35 p.m. for our 7:30 appointment? Well, it’s a problem in America and Europe, where we would be considered late, and it’s rude and inconsiderate to be late. Now, certainly, it’s not that way in all countries, in all societies. While working in West Africa, we would schedule a conference to begin at say 9 a.m., and people would arrive slowly all the way into the 10 o’clock hour. We were on African time, we would say. Being punctual, being on time, is really relative, and a matter of perspective. Often, however, the expectation of people being on time covers our own impatience and feeling a lack of control over events that we really don’t have control over at all. We want time to be on our side, to go along with our plans, to follow our schedules.

Isaiah looked around and cried out to G-d to come down and His Name known now! Over and over we see examples of this impatience and lack of understanding of the Lord’s timetable. We read of the disciples asking Y’shuaJesus if they should call fire from Heaven at the unbelievers. Peter tells us in his second letter (3:3,4) that scoffers will come in the last days to scoff, following their own lusts, saying, “Where is the promise of His coming?”

These days in which we live may very well be The Last Days. Have we arrived at a point in which this present generation will not pass away before all is accomplished? I don’t know. Y’shuaJesus didn’t tell His closest disciples. He didn’t know. So, when will our risen, conquering Savior and Lord return to take back his kingdom and reign? Perhaps in a minute. Perhaps a millennium will pass. We don’t know. We don’t know the hour of His return. In the meantime, here in America and in Europe, we live under to pressure and struggle of schedules—being on time, not late, not early. And when we fall into this trap, we begin to despair and feel abandoned when things don’t go as we expected, as planned, despite the injunction to live a life in which we follow Y’shuaJesus, saying “If the Lord wills, we shall do this or that.” We must take to heart the words of Habakkuk, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there is no fruit on the vines. . . yet I will triumph in the LORD; I will rejoice in the G-d of my salvation.” (3:17,18)

One final thought on this matter of being on time. We are called to flow in the Spirit. We are like the wind, coming and going. We are not contained. We are also under no condemnation. We must not fall into the trap of judgment by those who would say, “If you’re a Christian, you should. . .” Be on time. Act in this or that manner. Do this or that. The world will judge us late to an appointment if we follow the guidance of the Spirit to act in a manner the world doesn’t understand. We must not despair. We must continue to live in the Spirit, by the Spirit, for the Spirit, of the living holy Creator of the universe.

Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .

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