God’s Timing is Astonishing

The Monday before Christmas, I was at home by myself. It was early in the day, and I was feeling unsettled and a bit lonely.

I can’t pinpoint an exact cause for these feelings. The stress of the season? A combination of circumstances and unknowns over which I had little control? All of the above, maybe?

I don’t know. I just know that later in the morning, as I was going about my daily routine, I asked God to let me hear from someone who cared about me that day. I love it when I get a text or email from Randy or one of our girls, but my heart longed for a touch from a friend or loved one who doesn’t live in my home—someone unexpected, if you will.

The day went on, and nothing happened. The bad feelings faded, and I conveniently forgot about my earlier prayer.

When I went outside later that afternoon to fetch the mail, though, a pink envelope stood out among the advertising flyers and holiday greeting cards.

I opened it up to find a birthday card from my oldest brother. There’s nothing especially unusual about that, except for the tiny detail that my birthday is in early November and the card arrived on Dec. 19.

My brother is 11 years older than me. He lives in Texas, so I see him maybe once a year—when he comes to visit our parents. I’m fond of him and my southern-to-the-core sister-in-law, but we don’t keep in touch much beyond that.

With its sweet, affirming message, the card he sent would have made me smile no matter when I received it. But the fact that it arrived on the very day I prayed to hear from someone who cares? I can’t even tell you what that did for my heart and soul.

To put it simply, it was a much-needed, very personal reminder of one of those foundational theological truths I wrote about last week: God answers prayer.

It’s true. He does.

He answered my prayer that day, and I have a feeling that, if you stop and think about it, you’ll find He has answered your prayers too (though probably not all of them, and maybe not as obviously as this one).

And there’s something else. Not only does God answer prayer, but—as my friend Linda wrote so eloquently a few weeks ago—His timing is “impeccably astonishing.”

I know. I could easily pass this whole thing off as coincidence or happenstance. Had the card gotten to my house a couple of days earlier, I wouldn’t even be writing these words. But it didn’t.

It didn’t.

The scriptures frequently instruct us to wait upon the Lord. They remind us that there is a season for everything (Ecc. 3:1), that our times are in God’s hands (Psalm 31:15), that He makes everything beautiful in His time (Ecc. 3:11).

These truths might be hard to accept at times, but they’re not complicated.

Not really.

God operates according to His timetable, not ours. We can bang our heads against the wall trying to figure out why this thing didn’t happen earlier or why we didn’t learn about that thing sooner, and sure—maybe it would have made more sense or brought about a “better” outcome if we had.

But God is sovereign. He doesn’t think the way our finite minds think, nor does He function the way our frail human bodies function (Isaiah 55:8).

For one thing, He sees the bigger picture. He knows what we need (and what our loved ones need) to fulfill His purposes—for us as individuals and for the world at large.

And in His infinite wisdom, He knows exactly when we need it.

All of this should bring us to our knees in humble worship. But here’s something else I love about God.

At times, when one part of life is crowded with stress and struggle, He shows up somewhere else with a loving reminder that He’s still with us and still moving on our behalf. These appearances might come in the form of unexpected help or even healing, but often, they’re much simpler than that.

The birthday card from my brother wasn’t a miracle, but I think it was a touch from God. And it came exactly when I needed it.

Whether you’re just beginning to get impatient or you’ve already commenced with full-blown head-banging, I hope these two truths fortify your faith today:

God does answer prayer. And yes, His timing is astonishing.

P.S. If you have your own story about an obvious answer to prayer or God’s astonishing timing, please feel free to share it in the comment section.

Also … I’m linking up this week with Purposeful Faith, #Unite, #TellHisStory, Coffee for Your Heart, #HeartEncouragementThursday, Chasing Community, Fresh Market Friday and Grace & Truth.

37 Responses to God’s Timing is Astonishing

  1. Thank you for sharing this over at the Grace & Truth Link Up Party.

  2. Mandy Hughes says:

    What a beautiful account of God’s faithfulness! He does indeed hear and answer (in one way or another) our prayers. Thanks for sharing, Lois!

  3. Lisa notes says:

    How wonderful that you received the card on the day you asked for it (unknowingly anyway). God is so good like that. I love getting snail mail still. 🙂 But it’s few and far between these days. I do love our many ways to stay in touch through technology, but things we can touch with our hands are still special. Thanks for sharing this story, Lois!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      I agree, Lisa. Snail mail is the best, but I’m grateful for other ways of staying in touch too. On a completely unrelated topic, I got one of the books you wrote about recently (“Stalling for Time”) from our local library because I thought my husband might like it. Thank you for the suggestion … he’s really getting into it!

  4. Lois,
    Your story brought a smile to my face and a hearty Amen to God’s impeccable timing. So tender of God to meet you where you were on that day…Thanking God with you 🙂

  5. Aaaah, your words bring His peace for me today, Lois, and that’s an example of His impeccable timing right there. So I will meditate on the scripture used here, and I will continue to be assured that He is listening, and He has a plan!
    Heartfelt thanks, friend! xxoo Sorely needed 🙂

  6. Brenda says:

    Awe, I love that, Lois. I mean, can it get any better than God? We’re so blessed that He cares so much. Thank you for sharing this testimony of His faithfulness to hear and answer prayer. — And, CONGRATS for winning the drawing today! So happy for you! — I’ll email you and get your address so I can mail it out to you. — Thank you for being a part of #ChasingCommunity! ((xoxo))

  7. So cool, Lois! Just when we need it, God will remind us how loved we are and give us a glimpse into the big picture He sees. This happened to my husband when our first born was birthed on his birthday. 🙂

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Don’t you love those little glimpses, Kelly? That is so neat that your first child was born on your husband’s birthday … what a great reminder of God’s attention to detail!

  8. Laura Rath says:

    What an awesome way God answered your prayer that day! I’ve been thinking and writing about waiting on God lately too. Even when I don’t see the specific answers I’m hoping for at that time, I try to look for God in other ways that remind me He’s there with me. It really helps during a long wait. Visiting from #HeartEncouragement.

  9. I love that story! God really does work every detail out, to make us smile!

  10. Lois,
    I just loved this (but I love everything you write!) because so often God’s timing and notice of me is truly awe-inspiring. From a note to a text or an unexpected gift arriving at my door, I’m always amazed that when God nudged those to be his hands and feet or words to us, that they said yes and that astounds me too! I’m savoring these words deep in my heart! xoxo

  11. Such a sweet story, Lois. I have prayed for someone besides the folks at home to reach out and show love at times too- He is faithful and gracious in His answers. I love how He timed the arrival of the card for you!! This just makes me smile and strengthens my heart. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Awww, Lois. I love when God does that. And, I love that you shared this story. It’s so easy to get caught up in the busy-ness of life, the resignation of situations. It’s so easy to forget that God sometimes says yes to those simple prayer requests that may sound inconsequential. In a somewhat stressful season, I needed this reminder!

  13. Lesley says:

    This is a beautiful story! I love how God cares about even the little details of our lives and how he sees what we need and when. It is encouraging in times of waiting to remember examples like this that show how perfect God’s timing is.

  14. Trudy says:

    I’m so awed at the way and timing of God’s answer, Lois. Isn’t it something how we may forget our prayer, but He never does? Thank you for encouraging my heart today to remember God cares about every little detail of our hearts, He answers prayer, and His timing is always just right. Love and hugs!

  15. Ruth says:

    I love it when God does something amazing like that just because, because He wants to, because He loves us, because He can. 🙂
    I had a similar experience awhile back. You can read about it at: https://plantedbylivingwater.wordpress.com/2016/08/24/my-love-my-hero-always-ready-willing-and-able/

  16. What a sweet story! I love how personal and real God is in our relationship with Him. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Linda Stoll says:

    I love how God cares about even the smallest details of our lives. Nothing escapes His attention.

    The card symbolizes more than belated birthday wishes, doesn’t it. May it bring a smile every time you glance its way.

    {And thanks for the shout out! I’m sharing a huge prayer answered over at my place this week. He is so very good.}


    • Lois Flowers says:

      Yeah, Linda … the card is like the gift of grace that keeps on giving! You can be sure I’m keeping a sharp eye out for these signs of God’s care right now … and finding they are everywhere! Hugs, friend.

  18. Anita Felzke says:

    This came at perfect timing! I won’t go into lengthy detail just know that I needed your message today! Thank you.

  19. I am struck, first of all, by the boldness of your prayer. And I’m so thankful for the stunning way in which it was answered!

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