I have learned that you can't expect everything to be black and white when living in God's world. You can't expect "this" or "that" to happen when you want it to. Aside from His love, mercy and grace, you can expect surges and consolidations, drought moments and discombobulation. Why? Because God works in His own time!
My journey through depression has been proof of this. I knew something was wrong. I knew that “I wasn't right”. I knew my heart needed fixing. And basically ... I want it fixed pronto! But God had other ideas. Because He is all-knowing and all-powerful, He actually set out to prove that to me. He needed me to learn a lesson - a very valuable one at that - but He was going to teach me in His own time.
I work at a tertiary education institute (aka college). I issue roll books to teachers, and prepare these roll books in conjunction with class timetables that are organised by teaching staff and education managers. I have to admit that I'm glad I don't have their job! Preparing the roll books is the easy part really. But what isn't easy is when the timetable changes. Everything gets put out of whack and in some cases I have to start the roll book preparation from scratch. This can create some stress and confusion ... to say the least.
What have I learned from this though? I've learned that if I take the process and break it down into stages and be patient with what I'm doing, instead of rushing, then it all works out without much stress and confusion. Much can be the same, in a roundabout way, with when God decides our timetable.
He knows right down to the exact millisecond when something will happen. That in itself is an amazing thing to consider. He knows what words I'm going to type next before I do. He even knew that I'd have to go and hit backspace a number of times on that last sentence because I kept changing my mind about what words to write!
He also knows what is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next month, next year ... well, you get the picture, right! It’s HIS timetable for me and not my timetable!
I tried, unsuccessfully, to live life by my timetable up until about 18 months ago when I suffered my nervous breakdown. Philippians 4:6-7 saved me at that time:
“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."
I gave the trigger to my breakdown to the Lord. My depression and anxiety didn't go away, but I did find peace in Him. I knew that He knows all things, and that, for the first time in my life, was enough. The painful yet strengthening journey that I've been on since then was all on His timetable.
Another passage that also saved me was Proverbs 3:5-6:
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take."
I had depended on my own understanding, and that of others, to get through life. I didn't work! It still doesn't work. "His will" is His timetable and His desire for our lives. It's not what we want. We are mere flesh. Really, without Him, what do we know what to do with our lives? Nothing!
We try to live in a black and white world without God. We try to live out our lives by putting in our own little gray spin on things. We, like Sarah in Genesis 16, jump the gun and try to fix the situation ourselves. What does that achieve? Like with Sarah, nothing but trouble and strife.
What does it mean to stick to God's timetable when we don't actually have a hard copy of it? What do we do when there is no update done every week so we know where we have to go? Well, we go to His Word for instruction and truth, to Him in prayer for comfort and support, and we wait for the Holy Spirit to guide and advise us of our next move. That means spending more time with Him. More time seeking Him. And more time being quiet and still and waiting for that little prompt to lead us in the right direction.
I learned all about living by God's timetable. I, on occasions, still try and skip class. I try to do things my own way, but my nervous breakdown (numbers 1 AND 2) taught me to wait for Him. After the pain comes gain. I am experiencing that gain now. I am settled within myself. I ask God for direction. I seek Jesus for comfort. I allow the Holy Spirit to guide me. I pray more than I've ever done, and I also feel His presence in every part of my day.
God is the ultimate timetable scheduler! Let Him decide your steps every day. Wait for Him to tell you of the changes. Don't jump the gun and end up in the wrong classroom as you will most definitely learn the wrong lesson! Be patient. Trust His judgment. You will be rewarded. Not only by a smooth timetable but also a peaceful heart.