I have thought often in the last year about God’s timing, meaning the way God makes things work out perfectly and times things just right. But today I have a different perspective. In reading Judges, I was struck with the lack of information we are given. There is a lot that happens there, and we get the parts that God wants us to have, but there are volumes that are left out of each story. For example, chapter 3 begins with the simple statement that the people of Israel were subject to the king of Aram for eight years, and after a few sentences about Othniel, relates that they experienced a time of peace for forty years. The next few verses tell about the slavery of the Israelites to the king of Moab for eighteen years.

I started wondering about the gaps in the story. What must it have been like for the individuals and families and even tribes during these long periods of time. I am sure they were frustrated, angry, and confused. I am sure there were times they doubted God. But the only thing that we are given is that they experienced these periods of hardship and then peace as a people. While I am sure that God was involved and knew what was going on with each person and family during that time, He had a plan, and those things were necessary to get the gospel to me.

So what is my story going to be? I get so focused on the ins and outs of my personal spiritual life and the experience of the congregations with which I am associated. I am “tossed about” by the drama of my daily life, and I act as if God’s entire plan must be complete in my lifetime. But God’s timing is different. As He steps back and looks at history, my 38 years of service and ups and downs are visible to Him, but only as a tiny thread that may contribute to a larger pattern in a huge quilt that tells how great and good God truly is.

So knowing this, what impact should it have on my life? I guess the biggest thing is to stop reacting and responding to things as if they are the worst (or best) thing in the world. I have to take a step back myself and remember that God is the artist and I am a part of the art. I have to take a longer-term view of the world and my part in it, knowing that my role is important because God has a plan for me, but it ultimately isn’t about me. Much like a member of the marching band, I can’t see the formation from where I am, so I just have to do my part and be where I am supposed to be. I’ll get to watch the tape later and see the beauty that I was a part of.