Mothers Day is around the corner, and the thought of it floods me with flashbacks of my pregnancy.
The beginning was full of joy and anticipation. As the months wore on, anticipation gave way to impatience. Near the end of the third trimester, waddling and feeling like a beached whale, I was powerless to do anything but wait. Walks didn’t help hasten labor. The baby would come when it was ready.
Still I asked, “When, Lord?”
The answer? In the fullness of time.
And that’s how God has worked since earth’s first dawn.
He works. We can’t perceive it. He pauses. He gets our attention. Then things seem to happen suddenly.
A prime example is the four hundred years of silence between the Old and New Testaments. No new prophets, no word from God, no apparent hope on the horizon. How could the Israelites remain faithful? Where was God? Why didn’t He speak?
Despite our advantage of hindsight, we won’t know this side of heaven all the things God was doing during those “silent” years. Here are just a few highlights:
• Alexander the Great’s campaigns (330s BC) brought Hellenization and Greek culture to the whole world. In a short time, people became bilingual; and Koine Greek became the lingua franca—a common, everyday language that diverse people groups could understand.
• That paved the way for the entire Old Testament to be translated into Greek (around 250 BC). It became known as the Septuagint.
• That made evangelism possible through one language.
• Rome’s world conquest (200 BC to 14 AD) created massive road systems that made travel—and carrying messages (including the Gospel) easier, faster, and safer.
God also paused His communications because He was done talking through prophets. He was setting the stage for His greatest communication with mankind—through His Son Jesus Christ.
“But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman” Galatians 4:4 (ESV).
So what does the fullness of time mean for us? How can we apply it to today’s crazy new normal?
The fullness of time is:
• A promise that God’s power and presence do not wane
• A reminder that God is still working
• A pledge that it is season—not forever
• An invitation to expect surprises and miracles
God has planted eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11), but we can’t see from the beginning to the end as He can. We must rely on what He says about what we can’t see.
For example, God said, “I foretold the former things long ago; they came out of My mouth and I proclaimed them. Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass” (Isaiah 48:3, BSB). This refers to the Persians freeing the Jews from seventy years of Babylonian captivity. The Jews didn’t expect it, and they couldn’t have orchestrated the circumstances for it. (See Lamentations 3:37.)
When the fullness of time comes, it will seem sudden—not because God woke up and decided to accomplish His will all at once, but because it will happen when we’re not looking for it. Maybe when we’re doubting it’ll even occur.
An often uncomfortable, inconvenient truth for us is that a period of time must pass before God implements His will. Part of that has to do with us—our readiness and willingness to let Him work in our lives.
The fullness of time has a beginning, middle, and end. Just like a pregnancy. Just like an apple tree blossoming and eventually bearing fruit (the photo in this blog).
What cycles we see in nature, we see played out on the world’s grand canvas in the Bible. In fact, the Bible says all of creation is groaning like a woman having birth pains, waiting for God to set His creation free from bondage and decay (Romans 8:22).
Our “not yet” can feel like “not happening.” But God says don’t let your “not yet” immobilize you. Instead, claim His promises and act on them in faith as though they already did happen. Because it is happening, even though we may not be able to see it until the fullness of time.