Just a couple of weeks ago, it was strong on my heart, the reminder that it’s not always a good idea to wait for what feels like perfect timing. When it comes to welcoming people into your life, jumping into something you know God has breathed into you and you were created to do… the list could be a rather long one, but you get the idea: there are times when waiting for perfect timing is just plain wrong.

But the beautiful paradox of following the Lord that I’m consistently met with met me again this week, when I was ready to jump into a small decision and I felt that little tug in my heart — this isn’t the timing, wait, wait. Wait. It seemed like a pretty straightforward decision: We needed some kinda sorta piece of furniture to go into the “nursery” where Collie #3 will soon reside and sleep peacefully all night long. (Of course she’s gonna do that, faith!) I waited a while because we didn’t have the money to spend. I kept an eye on the sale ads, Craigslists, and online yard sales, and even posted “In Search Ofs” in a couple of Mom’s groups on Facebook. At least I think I did that.

{A Perfectly Timed Sunrise in Wilderness, South Africa}

And then I was blessed with a scrumdiddlyumptious birthday celebration, which included gifts from my folks, which included money, which meant I then had the money to buy a changing table. Which I was pretty excited about.

But then something in the back of my mind was whispering… not that one. Nope, not that one. Nope, sorry. Not the ones on Craigslists, the yard sales, the Mom’s groups, or any of the heaps of websites I browsed. I was looking for a path marked with the label peace, but there was not a peaceful path to be found. Just that slightly uncomfortable when ya know it in your knower, I’d like to make a decision and be done with this, but I can’t sort of feeling.

Doesn’t the Lord often lead us to a place of postponement, in order for the best to become possible?

Then last week, in the midst of this wonderful Bible study by Kelly Minter, I received confirmation about listening to that still, small whisper to wait, wait wait. We were reading about Nehemiah, his heart, completely broken for the state of things in Jerusalem, while he was living large as a cupbearer to the king in a Persian resort far away. He heard the news about Jerusalem, began to fast and pray, and four months later, got the opportunity to speak to the king about what was on his heart.

Kelly spoke of her conviction about that — Nehemiah’s faithful persistence in prayer, and commented:

This is a convicting model for me because often I am more comfortable taking action than I am sitting quietly before the Lord, waiting and listening for His voice. {Minter, Nehemiah, p. 25}

I knew those words were for me. And I sensed a still, small whisper of encouragement that that was why I couldn’t find peace about the changing table.

Don’t I know this already? The Lord’s timing is better than mine. I need to trust Him.

When we gathered to talk through last week’s reading last Friday, this particular prompting came to mind as something I felt like mentioning. I shared the story of the changing table and the waiting, and how I identified with Minter when she said sometimes she’d rather do than pray.

And then?

Someone from the Bible study group said she had two changing tables and I could pick which one I wanted. Oh, yes, that is exactly what happened. And since we needed to run another errand in Greenville that evening, by the end of the day a changing table was going for a ride in the back of our van.

It came in handy, right there in the van, when the Tank needed a change before we got home, and it absolutely fit the bill because I was hoping for something with a good amount of storage space underneath, and something I could paint without feeling guilty that I was painting something that didn’t need painting.

And? The friend who gave it to me wanted to give it to me and did not want a dollar for it. Which means the birthday cash can go towards the sander I’ve been hoping to get for DIY purposes, some other crafty stuff I’d like for the nursery, and the paint to paint the changing table, of course.

Psalm 32: 8 – 9 says:

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go;
I will guide you with My eye.
Do not be like the horse or like the mule,
Which have no understanding,
Which must be harnessed with bit and bridle,
Else they will not come near you.

This instruction to stay in step with the Holy Spirit so often resonates with me. While a horse might tend to hurry ahead of the pace, and a mule might lag behind, the Lord says, “I’ll set the pace. I’ll show you the way. I’ll guide you if you’re willing to stay in step with me.”

So sometimes the right thing to do is not to wait for what you perceive to be the perfect timing for something. And sometimes, the right thing to do is to be still, to trust and to wait. And the beautiful truth in the journey of walking by faith is that, if you wait for it, the whisper will come, with the wisdom to know the difference.