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God’s Will: Keeping the “What” and the “When” Together

Tuesday Re-mix –

Last Summer (2011) will go down forever in the scrapbook of the Coffee household.  It was crazy!  Between May 10 and May 28 (just 18 days), my older daughter graduated from ACU, my younger daughter graduated from MacArthur High School, and my older daughter got married!  That whole month is just a hazy flash in my memory.  But it was not over.  To top all of that off, my younger daughter was driving with a friend through our neighborhood in the middle of a weekday morning and got hit by a drunk driver.  Timing is everything.

The car accident happened at an intersection. My daughter was actually the second car to go through the intersection. The drunk driver blew through a red light and totalled my daughter’s car. My daughter and her friend were (thankfully) spared any serious injury. If the drunk driver had come a second or two sooner, she would have missed us altogether. If she had come a second later, she would have done serious (maybe fatal) damage to my daughter. We have all thanked God for his perfect timing. Timing is everything.

Sometimes it takes circumstances like this to help us appreciate just how important God’s timing is. That is particularly true in the church.

I have lost count of how many conflicted congregations with whom I have worked who struggled in one way or another with God’s timing. Here are some examples:

Moving forward on a narrow majority “vote”…

Paralyzed by caution and missing an important ministry opportunity…

Forging ahead with huge changes without building the necessary consensus…

Making the right decision in committee but fumbling the communication out to the rest of the church…

The pastor weighing in too soon on a controversial issue…

The pastor weighing in too late on a controversial issue…


When considering questions of God’s will, Dad once told me, “God’s perfect will and God’s perfect timing always come together.” I think what he was teaching me was that, knowing WHAT God is doing is one thing, but knowing WHEN He is doing it is another thing altogether…and if we don’t know them both, then we don’t yet have God’s will. Those two things must necessarily go together. It is not enough to have a vision for what God is going to accomplish through our church. At some point before moving forward, we must also have a clear understanding of His timing, i.e., when and how quickly we must move in order to be a part of His plan. Being out in front of Him is a bad place to be. By the same token, lagging too far behind Him is also a dangerous thing.

Whatever your church’s process looks like for discerning together God’s will, it must surely include discernment of His timing too. Without that, bad things happen.

Nice lesson, Dad!

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