God's Timing, Not Mine
by Carisa Wilsie
CRBC Orphan Care Director
Recently during my son’s devotion time with my husband and me, we were reading the story of Samuel being called by God in the midst of sleeping. Samuel is so caught off guard that he repeatedly goes to Eli, thinking that it was Eli who was calling him. Eli was wise enough to recognize that it was actually God speaking to Samuel. In the midst of discussing the meaning of this story, my son asked us if we had audibly heard God’s voice. We explained to him that we had never audibly heard the voice of God but had felt Him talk with us before in such a way that it felt as real as if God was saying things to us out loud. My son was blown away by this thought. We can hear God even though we can’t HEAR Him? It’s a strange concept to explain to a new Christian. However, it made me reflect on times in my life when I felt as though I was hearing God’s voice but sometimes misunderstood the meaning, similar to Samuel mistaking God’s voice for Eli’s.
One recent example in my ministry involved The Gift Goes On, a shopping event we host in November to raise money for the Karis Adoption Fund. Two years ago, I felt very strongly that I heard God tell me that our goal was going to be $75,000. The year before we had raised about $35,000. That’s a big difference in one year! But I very strongly heard Him tell me this was to be the new goal. That year we raised about $50,000. That number was huge for the Karis Adoption Fund and should have excited me. But honestly, I struggled with the fact that we didn’t get close to the $75,000. The next year I set that same goal, somewhat believing that we wouldn’t reach it, but remembering that God was the One who gave me that goal. At the end of the night, we had raised $70,000, again sooo incredible for the Karis Adoption Fund. But I still had some disappointment that we didn’t make it to God’s goal. Two days after the event, we received a check for $5,000, taking our total to $75,000 and reaching God’s goal. I knew at that point that God had given me the goal but was giving us that money in His time…not mine.
I’ve experienced another time in my family’s life when I’ve seen God’s timing play out in true form. When our children first moved in with my husband and me through adoption, I very clearly felt like God spoke to me saying that I would “see something” in three years’ time. During those first few years, that promise gave me some peace during rough moments of building attachment and trust as new and forever parents. However, when the three-year anniversary of our move-in day passed, nothing seemed different. We had slowly changed over time but still were not thriving like I thought we would be by that time. I tried to interpret God’s three-year plan to me in many ways, but it seemed to fall flat compared to what I felt that God was telling me was going to happen. Our adoption finalization had happened about six months after the kids moved in, meaning that a judge determined that we could legally be parents to our three children. We recently passed the three-year anniversary of our adoption finalization. I have truly had some meaningful conversations since this date that we have worked three and a half years to get. While things aren’t magically all settled with no issues pertaining to attachment and parenting, I think I see God’s promise of the three years. We have settled in as a family, endured some difficult losses in the last year, spent a lot of quality time to build up attachment, and made some amazing gains in building a strong relationship. The conversations I am now having with my children feel like they are going to have eternal impacts. I knew God told me three years. I just didn’t understand when He was telling me the three years would begin. It was His timing…not mine.
I pray that each of you are able to hear God’s voice to encourage you and to motivate you to stay on course for Him. I continue to learn about God’s timing in my ministry and my life, but I ALWAYS know that He is faithful to speak to me and to care about the timing in my life. Even when I get wrapped up in timelines, God is faithful to fulfill His promises in His time...not mine.