Acts 27:1-3 When the time came, we set sail for Italy. Paul and several other prisoners were placed in the custody of a Roman officer named Julius, a captain of the Imperial Regiment. … Julius was very kind to Paul and let him go ashore [at Sidon] to visit with friends so they could provide for his needs.
Galatians 4:4 (also Romans 5:6, 1 Timothy 2:6, Titus 1:3) But when the right time came, God sent his Son …
Will we meet Captain Julius in heaven? I wouldn’t be surprised!
Did God delay Paul’s journey to Rome for more than two years just so he could know Julius? It’s an interesting question, I think, in light of Jesus’ parable about how much he cares for individual people (Luke 15:3-7).
But—two years! More than two years stuck in prison in Caesarea, dragged out now and then to “entertain” the guys in power with his bizarre beliefs?
Again and again in Scripture, I’m puzzled by God’s sense of timing. Israel waited for the Messiah for centuries—more than four hundred years after the last prophecy of his coming. In what way was that particular starry night in Bethlehem “the right time”?
Questions to ask in Heaven (if I still care).
I thought about timing yesterday at a Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra concert—the opening weekend celebration of the first in-house concerts since Covid began. Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 evoked childhood evenings in the village of Nebaj, Guatemala. If we had electricity, Dad spun his disks while we five or six or seven kids read books or made jigsaw puzzles in our small living room, the fireplace adding warmth on chilly nights. Dad loved Tchaikovsky, the sweetness and the thunder.
There’s so much that goes into music of this caliber, I mused yesterday as the woodwinds danced with each other through Glinka and Ravel. The musicians bring their skill and their instruments, of course. But they also bring a willingness to submit their wills to the conductor’s baton. If any one of them decided to play by his or her own timing, the whole performance would be ruined. Implicit in each one’s choice to join the orchestra is the ability to blend, to add to the whole his or her hard-won skill as designated by the score.
I wonder whether any of them questions the conductor’s decisions, in practice or in private, as I sometimes question God about the timing of events in my own or other’s lives.
And I wonder how different our world might be if each of us were willing to watch, trust, and submit to our Conductor’s baton.
A side note: The only way I’ve figured out to honor my no-screens-on-Sundays practice is to switch But God postings from Sundays and Wednesdays to Mondays and Thursdays–not that I’ve always been consistent. But that’s my intent. Some of you were kind enough to notice I missed a couple of weeks around our son’s wedding and a retreat with several of my siblings. Life happens!