“I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today,” declares Popeye’s sidekick Wimpy on the long-running cartoon. An endearing rascal, Wimpy offers the transaction knowing full well there’s no way he’ll foot the bill since he never eats at the Rough House diner on Tuesdays.
Wimpy “borrows” more than burgers—he’s also buying time.
Time is one of those elusive concepts. As we ripped the page off the May
calendar to stare at June, many of us are left scratching our heads at where time went. Then there are those workweeks where we often roll our eyes on Tuesday when it seems we’ve already logged 32 hours. Will this week ever end?
God’s timing, though, transcends mortal minutes as He gloriously revealed again last week. God’s timing is sweet perfection.
As you recall, Narratives decided as a body to bless Carol*, one of the lifeguards at the YMCA. She was in a car crash and-more than a week later-discovered her deductible was $500, a steep reality for a college student. Carol also shared with me that her Mom, hoping to ease her daughter’s frustration, encouraged her to talk to God about the situation. As the words left Carol’s mouth, I felt in my spirit that this was a blessing opportunity for Narratives.
I waited until our Sunday service to pitch the need corporately. After discussing her dilemma we decided to sit with it before the Lord as we went about the rhythms of our next week. We intentionally waited direction on two things: If we should help Carol and, if so, how much.
The following Sunday, someone sensed an amount, but with many of our people out that week we opted to ponder it for another week to give everyone an opportunity to weigh in.
I don’t know about you, but a couple of times during the process I became restless. I felt the tension of passing time, the urgency of Carol’s need and the excitement of blessing someone in Jesus’ name. Eventually, the body concurred and the amount was set.
Life got busy and I got distracted. Four more days passed before I remembered to write the check, but that was a Friday, her day off. After that afternoon’s swim, I wouldn’t return until Monday. Angry with myself, and not wanting to forget it again later, I tucked the check away in a sandwich bag in my swimming gear so it wouldn’t get wet and moldy until I could give it to her the following week.
About an hour into my workout Friday afternoon, I was sharing a lane with one of my buddies as we water walked under the spring sun. I looked up to see Carol walking along the deck. She was filling in for the swim coach.
I excused myself for a minute and waved Carol over. Since I was still in the pool, she towered over me as she stood at the pool’s edge, her eyes shrouded behind sunglasses.
As I reached into my bag, I asked her if she remembered telling me about the insurance deductible and her mother’s guidance to seek God. She nodded. I handed her the folded check and told her the church wanted to help make up the difference. Her lip began to quiver and the physical gap between us disappeared as she dropped to her knees to wrap her arms around me. I stood on my tippy toes. We held each other for an extended time as she whispered that her car had broken down earlier that morning.
“Thank you soooooo much,” she managed between sobs. I whispered back, telling her that she was loved and everything works according to God’s timing, that He composes it all.
The story didn’t end with a hug on the edge of the pool. After Carol headed to her class, I returned to water walking with my friend, who describes herself as non-religious. I shared what had transpired and talked about God’s providence. She quietly took it all in. Seeds planted.
There is no doubt Carol would have been blessed no matter when we handed her the check. But the minute details He carved out for her that day on that deck gave Carol much more than a surprise windfall. He also used the moment to bless an uninvolved witness and me, as the vessel.
Not even the mighty Big Ben could orchestrate that kind of timing.
Keeping time with you,
*Not her real name.
Photo by skeeze/Pixabay