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Made Right at the Right Time - By Pastor Thomas Engel

Hitting a baseball and doing well in life have something in common. It is all about timing.

Back in my days in Little League, I was not a very good hitter, but I would still like to face a major league pitcher just for the experience of seeing a fastball at over 90 miles-per-hour.

As I understand, a batter only has a fraction of a second to decide if he wants to take a swing at a pitch.

What is the speed of the ball? Is it a fastball, a change-up, or a curve? With each pitch, it is all about the timing.

And on top of getting the timing right, the bat and the ball are round, so the chances for the ball and the bat to hit exactly square are very slim.

A .300 batting average is considered awesome. But that is only getting a hit 3 out of 10 times at-bat.

Considered one of the greats of all time, Babe Ruth was an all or nothing hitter. He is still one of the top record holders for a high batting average, but he also led in strikeouts.

In other words, his timing was working, or it was way off.

I wonder what our lives would be like if we transferred a .300 average to determine how we are doing in life. In my thinking for a life to be successful, we need to be doing better than getting only 3 out of 10 things right.

Although, I have heard that hitting a baseball is one of the hardest things to do in all of sports.

In life, is good timing a thing of luck that it just so happens that we are in the right place at the right time? Can we increase our chances of good timing with hard work? Or is something more going on here than meets the eye?

Here are some quotes about time:

“Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you." Carl Sandburg

“I am long on ideas, but short on time.” Thomas Edison

“In Disneyland, clocks and watches will lose all meaning, for there is no present. There is only yesterday, tomorrow, and the timeless land of fantasy.” Walt Disney

“It's never about time. Just commitment. The question becomes how to stay committed in the face of life with all its madness.” Emma Wright, author of Feel Good Friday

Looking up quotes about time, I like this last quote about staying committed in a crisis. It is timely, so I have put Feel Good Friday on my summer reading list.

Of course, Scripture has many verses about the consequential subject of what we do with our time. Here are some of them:

From Psalm 90, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

St Paul says in Romans, “And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”

And we know from Ecclesiastes the verses that were made into a pop song of the '60s, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: ...”

We live as “in-betweeners.” For each of us, we have been called to live in-between the long and most recent past and the up and coming uncertainties of the future.

As we are feeling uncertain about the future, God is not. This present time with all of its chaos that can leave a lot of wondering about what is going to happen next is our unique time to act out God’s specific purposes in His overall plan for His creation.

Not to put too much pressure on us, but what we are doing with this time has divine meaning.

So, here are some questions to get us thinking about this time.

How do you feel about your past? Do you have fond memories? Have you reconciled with past mistakes and hurts?

What are you thinking about the future? Are you filled with hope, cautiously optimistic, or feeling cynical?

Having thought about the past and future, how are you feeling about these present moments?

I was reading an article about the Spanish Flu of 100 years ago. We really have not heard about it much until now in this pandemic.

It seems that there are reasons for its obscurity. The article talked about how the people were so worn out from the stresses like the wearing of masks that they just wanted to put that time behind them. After the virus was not so much of a threat, they did not want to talk about it any longer, for they just wanted to get back to normal.

I do not want to speak for all of us, but I think here in 2020 that we will do the same as the people 0f 1920. We want to get this part of our lives over and move through this time to something else.

I know for me when I have gone through hard times, I have prayed to God a prayer something like this, “Dear Lord, I am not sure what I am to be getting out of this time, but I am willing to learn what I have to learn, so I can move on to whatever is next. Please, I just do not want to deal with this stuff any longer.”

I am not sure how effective that prayer works. I have been stuck in some situations, usually much longer than I would have liked, but I have always moved on.

God’s ways are not our ways, and His timing is not always our timing.

Paul says in the 8th chapter of Romans, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Looking at this verse, there are three points that we can look at to help us understand the times of our lives.

First, we need to see that God has in His mind “all” things. Nothing is left out.

We may, at times, look at our lives and see what is happening and think that nothing good can come from this particular mess that we are in.

We might think that this moment is a waste of our time, but God does not see any part of our lives at any time as wasted.

I hear some people say, “My life is in ruins.” It is here that I want to say to them, “It only seems that your life is going down the drain right now.”

I have to careful that I am not giving the impression that I am minimizing their hurt or pain by saying, “It only ‘seems’ that way.”

It is true that when we are going through a hard time that it does hurt. I do not want to be giving the insensitive idea, “Hey, toughen up, get over it.”

To see what is happening in our “bad” time, we go to the second point. In the verse, we see the verb, “works.”

To give a little bit of a grammar lesson here:

Every verb has a subject and a tense. For the verb, “works,” in this verse, the subject is God and the tense is present.

Also, let us review the meaning of the word, “work.” Merriam Webster gives this as one of its definitions:

“to perform or carry through a task requiring sustained effort or continuous repeated operations”

The dictionary gives this sentence as an example, “I worked all day over a hot stove.”

I am not sure if we can picture God working all day over a hot stove. But, to help us understand what God is doing in our lives, we can see God working all the time in all things to make them work for His purposes.

And the last part of this verse to see how God is working is how everything comes together for the good.

God can only do good because He is perfectly good. Getting back to when we are going through a time that is seeming like a “waste” to us, we can know that God is working at that moment towards something good.

To think a little deeper about our times, especially “bad” time, let us ask, “Does knowing that in this time that God is progressively working towards a good thing help us get through the time with such a firm boldness that it will not let in any anxiety or worry?”

King David would say, “Yes, it does, for I fear no evil although I am walking in some pretty scary places right now.”

All through Scripture, we see how God is working everything to the very best of all good things-our salvation.

God fulfilled all prophecy for Christ to be born in Bethlehem, travel about Galilee to preach about the Kingdom of God, and to go to Golgatha to die on a cross for our sins and rise on the third day.

God is still working out all things to fulfill the last prophecy of Jesus’ Second Coming when Christ will bring all things to himself and take us to heaven forever.

If we are living by faith, the timing for everything is perfect. All things are always coming together for the good.

So, living by faith, any moment is our best moment because that moment is working for something good.

God’s timing is always to give us forgiveness, grace, mercy, love, and strength in every moment, even though sometimes it does not “seem” like we have these things, we do have them.

Time keeps moving. We can never stop time. So, we keep moving in this time and in our lives believing that God is making all things right at the right time.

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