I've been thinking a lot about "God's perfect timing." What does that mean in my life, or anyone else on this planet?
I was cleaning out drawers, preparing for new carpet coming in a few weeks, which means all of the furniture must be moved. As I was sorting through the keep and discard piles, I came upon all of my saved adoption reunion papers. My birth records, the letters and photos my birthfather sent when we were reunited, my journals during this time, and folded up was a page from my calendar, April 2016. The calendar was filled with soccer games, work events, end of the year awards banquets for my children, and such. Looking through April 2016, I was washed over with a wave of emotions remembering the waiting. You see, I had located my mother in April of 2016 and sent her a handwritten letter and then I waited. I can look back at each scribble on that calendar and remember, oh yes, this is the day I sent the letter. This is the day I went to work and everyone kept asking me if I had heard from her yet. I remember having to tell them not yet, and pretend that I wasn't dying inside. I'm brought back to the dizzy back and forth of checking the mail and my email first with hope and excitement, and then quickly a gut punch. Day by day the month of April, 2016 I waited until the day marked "Emma- Academic Achievement Award Banquet 6:30". April 27th! This was the day I would open my email and see she was ready to meet me. There she was, and the moment I had waited for my entire life. I would finally meet my mother.
I recall back to that year, and I remember the excitement and buzz of friends and family. People could not get enough of my "story", and they answered "how wonderful! All in God's perfect timing!" I even said it myself writing it in my journal and thanking God for working it all out, making beauty out of ashes...in His perfect timing.
So now I'm sitting here thinking what does that really mean?
God wanted me to wait forty years to know my family?
My father in law passing away, much to young...perfect timing?
To the parents who are saying goodbye as we speak to their sick child in the hospital. God's perfect timing?
To the mothers, children, fathers, grandparents in war stricken countries, unsure if they will live...if they'll have a home, or food to eat? Is this God's perfect timing?
To the foster child who has bounced around from home to home. She doesn't even know what family and unconditional love really looks like. She'll soon age out, and the cycle of her family's past will swallow her. What happened to God's perfect timing?
Ann Lamont says "Faith includes noticing the mess, the discomfort, and letting it be until some light returns."
I'm beginning to wonder if this is one of those cliché things we say, when we don't know how to sit in the discomfort with someone. We mean well and we desperately want to know that God sees our story, and knows our heart- which let me be clear. HE DOES!! But is He plotting and planning, holding back, taking away in some secretive schedule?
"The opposite of faith, is not doubt, but certainty."- Ann Lamont
I'm not certain...but I ponder at the idea that more often than not when we say all in God's perfect timing it cushions the thought of rejection, the thought that the thing we want so badly may never actually happen or that we don't actually trust God. What would have happened had I never found my family? What if like many I found graves instead of open arms? What does this say to those who never see the end result of God's perfect timing?
I don't know?! I happen to believe that God is the farthest thing away from cliché. I imagine that He is like "so you mean to tell me, you believe that I sit up on a throne dangling hope, dangling love and your dreams like a master manipulator? That I would say my perfect timing is tangible for some, but tough luck for the rest? That one mothers loss and one mothers gain equals anything close to being perfect or at the hands of my divine plans?"
The moment we figure God out, God ceases to be God. Faith includes questions, and wrestling with lazy, easy, and cliché answers. Faith is embracing the mystery and embracing what it means to rest in God's love.
Adapted from Alcuin of York:
God go with us. Help us to be an honor to the church.
Give us the grace to follow Christ's word,
to be clear in our task and careful in our speech.
Give us open hands and joyful hearts.
Let Christ be on our lips.
May our lives reflect a love of truth and compassion.
Let no one come to us and go away sad.
May we offer hope to the poor and solace to the disheartened.
Let us walk before God's people, that those who follow us might come into his kingdom.
Let us sow living seeds, words that are quick with life, that faith may be the harvest in peoples hearts.
In word and in example let your light shine in the dark like the morning star.
Do not allow the wealth of this world or its enchantment flatter us into silence as your truth.
Do not permit the powerful, or judges, or our dearest friends to keep us from professing what is right.