Timing is Everything: Waiting On and Trusting God's Perfect Timing
A couple days ago, I FINALLY passed my behind-the-wheel test at the DMV. It’s been quite a journey getting to this point, and now that it’s over, I wanted to share what this entire ordeal has taught me about God’s timing for our lives. (Yes, I am that person who failed her driving test four times before finally getting her license.) In an earlier post, I wrote about waiting on God’s timing—specifically how waiting develops our character, but in this post I want to focus on why timing is so important and why we should trust God’s timing for our lives.
I’ve been putting off getting my driver’s license for many years. While many of my friends passed their behind-the-wheel exams in high school, getting their licenses far before turning 21, I never prioritized getting my driver’s license. In high school, I relied on my parents to drive me places, and before I knew it, I was heading off to college without my license. [In college, I was the butt of many jokes for not having my license, and always had to depend on friends for rides (to church, meals, etc.).] Finally, in the summer after sophomore year, I set my sights on getting my license. I took my written exam (and passed), and had my permit in hand to practice driving.
In my very first behind-the-wheel test, I failed within the first minute (totally my bad) and was forced to return to the DMV almost immediately. I was disappointed, but since I hadn’t expected to pass my first time anyway, I went home and signed up for my next test. Instead of spending more designated time practicing my driving, I stubbornly just wanted to pass as soon as I could. Then, I failed my next test. And my next. Three failed tests later, I decided that driving just wasn’t for me. I returned to college that next year, empty-handed.
A few more years passed, and during that time, I was too busy with school to invest my time in getting my license. Soon enough, I turned 21 and now had to explain to baristas why I didn’t have my license every time I ordered a drink. It wasn’t until last year, after I had graduated from undergrad and finished applying to schools that I seriously began pursuing my driver’s license. I took classes and practiced whenever I could. Then, earlier this year, I got into a traffic accident. I was backing up my car after a gate unexpectedly began opening towards my car. My stepmom, sitting in the passenger seat, panicked and told me to stop the car. In a moment of panic, I hit the accel instead of the brakes. I slammed backwards into a gate, and hit a car parked on the street before the car stopped. This accident scared me out of my wits, and for a while, I gave up on my hopes of ever getting my license. I thought to myself, I am simply not cut out to drive and I’d better stay away from driving. Even my family members agreed. But a few months later, I decided to give it another go and began to practice intensely whenever I had the chance.
Finally, I gathered the courage and signed up for a behind-the-wheel test. This time, I felt prepared. My parents agreed that I had improved a lot and were comfortable with me driving their cars. I went into the test confident that I would pass this time. My examiner was a middle-aged, stern white woman. After a couple turns, I felt like I was doing well, but a few minutes in, she yelled at me for not driving fast enough in a 40 lane (after making a turn). She made me return to the DMV, and my heart dropped. She failed me, and then proceeded to yell at me for driving in an unsafe manner. It took all my strength to not argue with her and I calmly accepted the result. I felt that the result was unfair, because driving slowly after a turn is a safe practice, and not a “critical error.”
After the exam, I was crestfallen. I had prayed for God to allow me to pass, and had sincerely practiced all that I could. I found myself shaking my fist at God yet again for not giving me what I wanted, when I wanted. The result seemed “unfair” and I felt like God was being a bad father for not giving His child what she had obviously worked for and needed (I desperately needed my license to get around in school). What kind of parent would do that to a child?, I thought.
Then, this past Monday, I gave it another go and took my test. Before my test, I prayed again for God to help me pass, but I doubted in my heart that He would (after being disappointed so many times). My hands were trembling as I gripped the wheel right before my test. When my examiner walked over, he was extremely nice and encouraging (a complete angel compared to all the examiners I’ve had in the past). He kept telling me to not be nervous and re-assuring me that I was prepared. Midway through my test, I felt good but still thought that I had definitely made some critical error and had failed. Then, to my shock and awe, my examiner announced that I had passed. I was ecstatic, but more shocked than anything else.
In my heart, I felt as though God were asking me, “Why did you doubt?” In that moment, I felt so stupid for ever doubting that God would give me my license. I also understood why God had made me wait so long to get my license.
The reason I told my entire story (from start to finish) of getting my driver’s license, is to get across my emotional rollercoaster throughout this journey. There were so many times that I was close to giving up and doubted that God would ever give me my license, but ultimately, it was through this process that I learned why trusting in God’s timing is so important. The following are three realizations I’ve made about waiting on and trusting God’s timing for our lives.
God wants to give us good things.
The first realization I made in hindsight is that God wants to give us the things we want (if these desires are God-honoring). Psalm 84:11 says, For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. Romans 8:32 says, He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? As these verses confirm, God never, ever refrains from giving His children good things. It can be easy to assume that God is punishing us by not giving us what we want, but it is important to remember that God is the source of all good things and even wants to bless us whenever He can.
If God does not give, it must not be good.
This leads me to my second realization: that if God is not giving us the “good thing” that we so desperately want, it must not be good for us in that moment. Isaiah 55:8-9 says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” This is probably the hardest truth to accept—that what we want and think is good for us may not actually be good for us. God’s thoughts and ways are far above ours, and He has infinite wisdom to decide when and when not to give us certain things. Looking back, I now realize that if God had given me my license the summer after my sophomore year, I would more than likely have gotten into some traffic accident. I simply was not prepared to drive and could have gotten seriously hurt. But because I was forced to practice so much before finally getting my license, I am now a competent and safe driver. As any loving and protective parent would, God will not give something to us if He knows that it will harm us.
The key to peace in all circumstances is to accept and trust in God’s timing.
Throughout my journey to getting my license, I have been restless and anxious. There were times when I panicked at the thought of never getting my license (would I have to Uber everywhere for the rest of my life??). I thought to myself, how embarrassing will it be when I have to explain to all my friends why I don’t have my license. To put it bluntly, I did not trust God’s timing for my life. I was so set on the timeframe I had in my mind that when things didn’t go as I planned, I would panic and worry. If I had only learned to trust God’s timing, I would have avoided the anxiety and restlessness that plagued me throughout my waiting. One of my favorite verses, Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs us toTrust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Trusting in God’s timing for our lives is the secret to living a peaceful and anxiety-free life.
In summary, I believe that God uses these seasons of waiting to teach us to trust in Him more, as cliché as that may sound. And this is far from the only situation in my life in which I’ve had to patiently wait on God’s timing—this is a lesson that I’ve had to learn over and over again, and probably will continue to learn in the future. Though it is never fun to wait for something you desperately want (trust me, I know), I have been slowly but surely learning how to let go of my plans in favor of God’s plans and trust that His timing for my life is perfect.