In the Fullness of Time
Read: Galatians 4:4
There's joy in watching plants grow and change. Whether flowers, fruit or vegetables, God's creation is an on-going amazement to me. It has been a strange spring and summer here in Western South Dakota. Perhaps that is the way it seems everywhere concerning the weather; however, even so, we have harvested green beans and we're looking forward to other produce. We have a Honey Crisp apple tree, and when we looked at it earlier in the week, we noticed the apples are still quite small. I'm not certain if they will grow much larger, but something that amazes me, not only with apples but pretty much every other growing edible thing is that at a certain time, growing time ends and ripening begins. God must have built into His plants a triggering that signals the ripening process to commence and the growing to come to an end. That means that we who have fruit and vegetable trees and plants can harvest them when they are ready to eat. In the fullness of time. That's when they are the best.
God Who is the Master Time Keeper even sent His son into the world at just the right time, Galatians 4:4. Isn't it interesting that the One Who invented time with all of its deadlines and parameters oversaw the most wondrous event that has ever been and held it off until His proscribed time had arrived. That was only the beginning. After Jesus' birth in Bethlehem which was predicted hundreds of years prior to its occurrence, Micah 5:2, Jesus spent the next approximately 30 years doing the simple tasks of living that we all do. It's interesting to ponder that. No doubt, the Savior's days were rather ordinary. By that I mean that He wasn't healing folks or providing miraculously for crowds of people. He wasn't preaching to the multitudes or traveling around with disciples. Those tasks would be accomplished in the fullness of time.
Remember the man born blind whom we meet in John 9? He spent those years when Jesus lived and worked in an ordinary way, experiencing the challenges that came with his blindness. He wouldn't see his first sunrise or his parents' faces until the time was right. In fact, none of the people whom Jesus touched with His sweet healing knew what was to come. Probably, they believed that their lives would continue just as they were, prior to the fullness of time.
If we were running the universe--praise the Lord we're not--would we have done things differently? Would it have made more sense to us to have sent Jesus into the world when computers and cell phones could have been a part of His ministry? Or what about Jesus' years on earth? Would we have considered them to be more productive if He had begun His public ministry at 21, giving Him nine more years of healing and preaching? Yet, the Lord had a plan. So often in John's gospel, we are reminded that His arrest, trial and crucifixion came at "the hour", the time that was just right, John 12:23-24; John 12:27. All of His work on earth was done in the fullness of time.
Back to the fruit on the Honey Crisp apple tree. We could harvest them now, but that would be foolish. The timing is wrong, and the taste would be bitter and unsatisfying. We would never do that, but how many times do I get impatient, forgetting that God's timing is best not only for apples but for so many other circumstances? What if I didn't harvest too soon, but instead left the apples on the tree so long that they became mushy and unpalatable? In that case, I would miss the enjoyment of eating the sweet luscious fruit. How sad it is when I drag my feet so long that a chance to do something for the Lord is missed. How easy it is for me to forget the wisdom of the One Who created not only time but everything else, Hebrews 11:3. If Jesus rested His earthly mission with the Father, submitting to His timetable and doing only what He saw the Father doing, John 5:19, how much more do I need to remember to rest in God's timing. That's a challenge for each of us. Sometimes, we long to push open doors that God has locked. At other times, we timidly stay far from a door He has swung open for us. How I thank the Lord for His patience and grace when I make either of these mistakes. These happen when I forget that He is in charge of all He wants to do in and through me, in the fullness of time.
The song "IN YOUR TIME", written by Linda Ball, reminds us of this precious truth:
In his time, in his time
He makes all things beautiful in his time
Lord, please show me everyday
As you're teaching me your way
That you do just what you say
In your time
In your time, in your time
You make all things beautiful in your time
Lord my life to you I bring
May each song I have to sing
Be to you a lovely thing
In your time