Is it the right time to date that person? To move to a different state? To go back to school? To start that business? Are you about to miss your window?
So much of the confusion in our lives revolves around timing, “When, Lord? When is the right time?”
Here are 5 signs God will use to let you know when the right time is so you don’t miss your window.
1. You Will Know the Timing Is Right When Things Align that You Could Never Have Manufactured Yourself
When it’s the right time for you and someone to be together in a romantic relationship, both of your hearts will align, which you cannot force to happen. When it’s the right time to change positions, you will have the skills and there will be an open position that you get accepted for. When it’s the right time to move, you will have the motivation and there will be somewhere that welcomes you in.
This is example of timing can be seen in 2 Kings 8:1-6. Elisha raised a woman’s son from the dead. Before a seven-year famine, he then told this woman to take her family and go. After the seven-year famine, she came back. Just as the king was being told about this woman’s son being raised from the dead, she walked through the door and made her request. The timing was absolutely divine and no one could have planned this but God himself:
“Now Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had restored to life, “Arise, and depart with your household, and sojourn wherever you can, for the Lord has called for a famine, and it will come upon the land for seven years.” So the woman arose and did according to the word of the man of God. She went with her household and sojourned in the land of the Philistines seven years. And at the end of the seven years, when the woman returned from the land of the Philistines, she went to appeal to the king for her house and her land. Now the king was talking with Gehazi the servant of the man of God, saying, “Tell me all the great things that Elisha has done.” And while he was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, behold, the woman whose son he had restored to life appealed to the king for her house and her land. And Gehazi said, “My lord, O king, here is the woman, and here is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” And when the king asked the woman, she told him. So the king appointed an official for her, saying, “Restore all that was hers, together with all the produce of the fields from the day that she left the land until now.”
2. You Will Know the Timing Is Right When Time Is Standing Still Until You Try This Thing You Are Wondering About
Sometimes we get stuck in an endless loop of asking God about the timing because we are not really asking about the timing. Rather, we are asking God for a guarantee of the outcome.
You may be saying, “Lord, is it the right time to ask her out?” But really you may be asking, “Lord, if I ask her out now, will she say yes?” You may be saying, “Lord, is now the right time to start this business I’ve always wanted to start?” But really you may be asking, “Lord, if I try to start this business, will it succeed?” You may be saying, “Lord, is now the right time to share the gospel with my unsaved family members?” But really you may be asking, “Lord, if I share the gospel, will they receive it or will they reject me now that I’m a Christian?”
It’s always the right time to do the right thing (2 Timothy 4:2). God won’t guarantee the results. And just because you try something that doesn’t go the way you wanted, this doesn’t mean God didn’t want you to try.
If you are just standing still, endlessly asking God about the timing, it’s probably time to actually do something and see what happens (Matthew 10:13).
3. You Will Know the Timing Is Right When Everything Seems to Be Going Wrong Because You Are Resisting God’s Leading in This Matter
The Lord will often frustrate your other plans when he wants you to do something you’re not doing.
A great example of this is Jonah. God told him it was time to go Nineveh (Jonah 1:2), but he rebelled and ran away. Everything Jonah did after that was frustrated by the Lord. His way was blocked. Only after he repented and did what God told him to do was he free from the turmoil God was bringing on him.
Likewise, one way you will know it’s the right time to do something is when things start going bad because you aren’t doing that thing. Perhaps you know you are being passive, and then this person you like starts pulling away. Perhaps you know you should switch companies, and now your current boss is being even more unjust to you. Perhaps you know you should apologize for a wrong you did, and now your conscience is eating at you worse and worse every day.
When you do the right thing, oftentimes the storms die down. Jonah said to the Lord, “. . . what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the Lord!” (Jonah 2:9). Only then does Jonah 2:10, “And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.”
4. If You’re Waiting to Be Perfect, God May Be Saying, “Stop Waiting. Now Is the Right Time.”
Some people wait to date because they feel they need to be perfect before they can marry someone. Some couples wait to have children because they feel they need to be the perfect parents. Some people never choose the career they really want because they feel they still don’t have enough skills.
God doesn’t need you to be perfect to accomplish his will for you. When it’s the right time, this will not be marked by your perfection. You will never be the perfect spouse, the perfect parent, or the perfect entrepreneur. God is looking for the faithful, not the perfect.
Like Moses who felt it was not the right time for him to go back to Egypt because he lacked the skill, so too will God often lead us out of our comfort zone so we can obey his timing, not ours, “But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?’ He said, ‘But I will be with you . . .” (Exodus 3:11-12).
5. If It’s the Right “Season,” It’s Often the Right Time
A season, in Scripture, is a designated period of time for a specific purpose planned for by God.
We can see this in the natural world. There is a season for planting seeds so they have time to grow, and then there is a season for harvesting the crop so they don’t spoil and go to waste. If you miss that window, you can’t plant and harvest that year. There is a season for a woman to have a baby, and then after they reach a certain age, they lose that ability. There’s a window for a husband and wife to have children.
Spiritually there are seasons as well. As Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times” (Matthew 16:3).
So if you are in the right season to try this thing you are asking God about, then oftentimes this means it’s the right time to try what should be done in that season of life. If you are the right age and maturity to get married, it’s probably the right time to start dating. If you are in the right season of your career to start your own business, it’s probably the right time to try it. If your lease is up and there’s a better place to live, it’s probably the right time to move.
Ecclesiastes 3:1, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”