Timing is important. I remember the job interview at Kimberly-Clark. I had recently finished an internship as an Exercise Specialist at Dow Chemical. My boss had liked my work and created a contract position that would allow the company to retain me.
The Kimberly-Clark interview couldn't have come at a better time. Although I really wasn't interested in moving from my home town of Midland, Michigan, to Alpharetta, Georgia, the interview could prove helpful. It just might offer me the leverage I needed to convince the higher-ups to change my position from contractor to full-time employee. It was worth a shot.
In the end, I wasn't offered the position at Kimberly-Clark, but following that interview, my position at Dow changed from contractor to employee. Mission accomplished. Staying local also allowed me to continue dating a wonderful, young man who later became my husband. Our journey together has included a series of moves, each one orchestrated in God's perfect timing.
I'm reminded of the Lord's timing in the lives of the Israelites. Following the exodus from Egypt, the children of Israel were no strangers to moving. They got used to pitching camp, staying put, then breaking camp and moving on when the time was right. How did they know when to stay or when to move? A pillar of cloud and a pillar of fire.
Early in their journeys, "...the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night: He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, not the pillar of fire by night, from before the people," (Exodus 13:21-22; KJV).
Later, after the tabernacle was constructed, the cloud still played an important role in the Israelites travels. Moses writes, "And when the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle, then after that the children of Israel journeyed: and in the place where the cloud abode, there the children of Israel pitched their tents. At the commandment of the Lord the children of Israel journeyed, and at the commandment of the Lord they pitched: as long as the cloud abode upon the tabernacle they rested in their tents," (Numbers 9:17-18).
The Lord knew what was right for the children of Israel. When they needed to rest and when they needed to move on. They merely had to look to the pillar of cloud He provided, for guidance. The same is true in my life. God knows when I need to stay put and when I need to move on. It may not be a literal move, but He knows when I need to shift gears from one task to another.
Today I can't look to a pillar of cloud, but God directs me through His Word and the power of His Holy Spirit. His Word is "a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path," (Psalms 119:105). When I'm seeking His guidance for something specific in my life, I can be assured that He has the answer. My job is to bring my request before Him, search His Word for direction, and then act on His answer in His perfect timing.
He has a purpose and a plan for me. When I'm obedient to seek Him, and follow when He leads, I'll reach the goal He has for me right on time!
Do you rush ahead of God's plan for you? Trust that He knows what's best, and enjoy the times of rest AND the times of moving ahead.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for the story of the Israelites who were dependent on Your pillar of cloud to direct their travels. Help me not to run ahead of You, but trust in Your perfect timing. In Jesus' name, Amen.