It’s All In His Time. It’s All In His Hands.

An Adventure in the Gospel of John

I love studying the Word of God! And I love going right to the Word itself. No fill-in-the-blank books. No preset questions to answer. Just the Bible. I’m not saying those Bible study guides can’t be helpful; they have their place. But if you want God to speak directly to you—to where you are now, in your day-to-day life, in your spiritual life—then let God’s Word and God’s Spirit be your Bible study guides.

That was brought home to me again this last week as I continued my study of the gospel of John. I’d just reached chapter two, where John tells of the first sign, the first miracle Jesus performed: changing water into wine. It’s not a very long narrative, just eleven verses. But I didn’t make it through the whole story.

God stopped me at the phrase “My hour has not yet come” (2:4). Why did Jesus say that? What did He mean? And why did He then go ahead and perform the miracle? I never did find an answer to that last question, but the Spirit took me on an adventure through the gospel as I discovered other times Jesus used this same phrase. (Here’s where cross-references are really helpful.) Here’s what I found:

  • Jesus chooses not to go publicly to the Festival of Tabernacles in Judea. “My time is not yet here,” he says to his brothers. “I am not going up to this festival, because my time has not yet fully come” (John 7:6-8).
  • Jesus’ enemies try to seize Him, but they couldn’t because “his hour had not yet come” (John 7:30).
  • When Jesus is teaching the people in the temple courts, the Pharisees question Him about His testimony about Himself. And even though His words angered them, “no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come” (John 8:20).
  • Then we come to Jesus entering Jerusalem for what would be His final week, and He now declares this: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (John 12:23).
  • Jesus knew what that hour was going to hold, and it led Him to this prayer: “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify thy name” (John 12:27-28).
  • As we continue to read the account of Jesus’ last week, we move to His last night with the disciples, and we read this: “Jeus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father” (John 13:1).
  • Then, once again, Jesus prays: “Father, the hour has come” (John 17:1).
  1. God had a plan and He was working everything out according to His plan and in His time.

2. Jesus clearly knew the details of that plan and its timing, and He was willing to accept that plan no matter what it involved.

3. Scripture as a whole teaches me that God is active in the world today, that He has a plan and that He is working out His plan. That applies to my life too. God has a plan for my life. He has a purpose for my life. And He is working all things out according to His plan. I can trust that. I can trust Him. Even in those times when I may doubt, when I may ask, “God, is this really part of your plan? God, are you really in control?”

a. I could trust Him when I had neurosurgery to remove a tumor on my pituitary gland, and the rapid “healing” left me in pain all over.

b. I could trust Him when on our first day on the mission field customs kept equipment important to our work, a thief stole all our hand luggage, and another thief (or the same one?) tried to enter our room at night.

c. I could trust Him when I had surgery for breast cancer and when the chemo follow-up landed me in the hospital three times.

I could trust Him during all those times, though I may not have always done so gracefully. Yet God enabled me to remain faithful because I knew that He was and is faithful. I know that He knows what’s best for me, He wants what’s best for me, and He’s capable of bringing about what’s best for me.

What about you? Are you going through a difficult time? Are you having trouble believing that God is really in control? Or are you thinking that you don’t like the plan that He’s working out in your life? You think maybe your plan for your life would be better?

God, through the prophet Jeremiah, told the exiles that He was in control, even though it may not have seemed like it to them. He had a plan for them, and He was, in His time, working out everything according to that plan. “For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

It’s my prayer that you can believe that God is working out His plan in your life too, regardless of what things may seem like. I pray that you will understand that God knows what’s best for you, that He wants what’s best for you, and that He is bringing about what’s best for you—in His time.

  • Try to make some time this week to think over these truths. How do they apply to your own life? Can you thank God that you know that He is in control—of all things and at all times?
  • If you’re having trouble believing that God is in control and is working out what is best for you, don’t be afraid to tell Him that. Ask Him for His help; ask Him for faith. Remember the prayer of the father of a boy possessed by a spirit: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief” (Mark 9:24, NIV).
  • Consider memorizing a Bible verse you can, in challenging times, use to remind you that God’s plan is best and that He is working out His plan in His time.
    • “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
    • “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in your will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
    • “The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.” (Psalm 37:23-24)
  • If you’ve never studied the Word of God by going right to the Word without any helps, I encourage you to try it. Before you start, pray for God’s guidance, for the help of the Holy Spirit whom Jesus said would guide us into all truth (John 16:13).

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