An acceptable time
by Michael E. Brooks
“We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation”
(2 Corinthians 6:1-2 NKJV).
Schedules are often irksome. Most of us are intimidated by deadlines. Often the timing of a flight, or a holiday, or of some special event does not mesh well with our own personal agendas.
My schedule of mission campaigns is generally pretty inflexible, and I am always conflicting with airline schedules, or holiday seasons in the countries which I visit. Some accommodation is necessary, but usually I find that I just have to make allowances — the timing is what it is, and I cannot do very much about it.
Paul reminds us in the verses cited above that God is in charge of all calendars. He responds to our prayers and needs on his time-table. This is true of the answers to our prayers, the meeting of our needs, and even the working out of our salvation.
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).
Jesus came into the world at exactly the right time. What made it the right time? Why did it matter?
We cannot read the mind of God, therefore we do not know with certainty the factors which he considered. But scholars have observed the following factors that seem to have facilitated the spread of the Gospel. They were: (1) Jewish Messianic Expectation; (2) The Peace of Rome and (3) The universal spread of Greek language and culture.
Much of the world was anticipating the coming of the anointed one of God and searching for any sign, listening to any claim. Rome established law and order as well as building a series of good roads to remote areas of the Empire.
The Greek language was widely spoken and understood, making communication in various countries much easier. All these factors undoubtedly helped the immediate growth of the Church in the first century.
But one wonders, how many of those factors would have been apparent to those to whom the Gospel was first preached? Would they have recognized it as the best possible time? I suspect many would not.
So God’s time-table for events affecting us may not always make perfect sense to us. We may be impatient with him, or conversely may feel he is rushing us. He may require things of us for which we are not yet ready. He may delay granting us something we feel that we desperately need immediately.
But we must always remember the omniscience of God. He knows best. He is sovereign over all. The acceptable time is always the one which he chooses. Let us be ready to meet him on his terms, and move on his schedule.
He is the Eternal one. He is the one who makes the Day. Let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).