Ever since we moved from our home in Eastpointe to the condo (7 years ago), we have been in regular contact with the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA).  In particular, we place unwanted and slightly used items in boxes and bags, go to their website to book a pickup date, and then appropriately place the items on our front porch.  There was a time when they seemed to be coming weekly for up to a dozen boxes each time.  Now the visits are much farther apart and the number of boxes smaller.
A week or so ago they sent me an email notification that they would be in our neighborhood.  I had four or five small boxes filled, so I booked a pickup for Tuesday.  They said the truck would come sometime between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.  Monday evening our Matthew texted me, “Dad, are the Veterans coming to your house anytime soon?”  My reply was, “Yes.  Tomorrow.”  I would call that “Timing.”
Since I would be at their house Tuesday morning from 7:00 – 9:00 a.m. (one of my two regular weekly shifts of childcare), we decided to have me pack their things into my car that morning and add them to our stuff when I got home, hoping that the truck would not arrive before 9:30.  With my trunk and backseat filled with 13 bags of children’s things, I turned onto our street just in time to see the VVA truck pulling away from our condo (Timing!).  In my car I chased the truck around two corners and pulled up next to it just before the driver turned onto the main road going to 21 Mile.  I rolled down my window and explained to the startled driver that I had things to add to his load.  After verifying that he had just been at our home, he got out of the truck and there – right in the middle of the street – we transferred everything into his truck and he was on his way, with a big smile on both of our faces.  While transferring the “goods” I explained to him that our granddaughters keep outgrowing things.  He said, “We like that.”  As he drove away through his open window he said, “You enjoy those granddaughters now.”  Behind my smile I was thinking, “Timing.”
Things went a little differently later that day.  On my way out the door for an 11:00 a.m. appointment, I dropped my phone into the crack between the washer and the dryer.  As I was using a broom handle to extract it, my phone suddenly disappeared, vanishing underneath one of the appliances.  It happened so quickly I did not know which one.  After five minutes of futile searching, I realized that I would be late for my appointment and had no way to let anyone know.  Again, I was thinking, though not in such favorable terms, “Timing.”  I decided to head out and worry about the phone later.
Sometimes it is good to step away from a dilemma and return to it later.  Such was the case for me.  When I returned home, I decided to use a flashlight to locate the phone.  However, finding no flashlight in our house (I always use the one on my phone), I decided to see if there was one on my iPad.  While a flashlight I never found, I did discover a button that said, “Find My”.  When I opened the app, one of the choices was, “Mark Hetzner’s iPhone.”  As I pressed that choice, my phone rang 4 times.  I got down on my knees, the phone rang again, and I determined that the sound was louder when I was by the dryer.  My joy was replaced with frustration when repeated yardstick sweeps under the dryer produced nothing.  Then, out of the blue, my phone rang again (Timing!) and I realized that the sound was coming from far to the right of the dryer.  To my surprise, relief, and embarrassment, I discovered that my phone had slid out from the dryer and was under the throw-rug we keep in the laundry room … had I looked there initially, the phone would have been located nearly two hours earlier!  (By the way, the next morning I happened upon another flashlight in our house … Timing!)
While I do not regularly think about timing when Isaiah writes about the compassion of the Lord, the familiar words fit beautifully into the conversation.  The words that challenge us, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord” (Isaiah 55.8), are followed by the beautiful promise, “You shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” (Isaiah 55.12) Many times when I fail to see the promise it has to do with his “timing” not being my “timing”!
Then, Wednesday morning, I was with some men as we read some other familiar words.  “If I have all faith, so as to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. … Love is patient and kind.” (1 Corinthians 13.2, 4) While we reflected upon the love and patience of God, my mind wandered to Isaiah 55.  “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55.10-11)
The emails that I send from my iPad end with a footnote from Romans 10“Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10.17)  Sometimes it takes years … and many varied plantings (see Luke 8.4-15) … but “the word … shall accomplish that which (God) purposes, and shall succeed in the thing for which (he) sent it.” (Isaiah 55.11) Thus we are called to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in season and out of season, … with complete patience.” (2 Timothy 4.2)  We do what we are called to do and leave the timing up to him.
The VVA would have received those 13 bags on some other date if I had missed the truck.  My appointment was successful even without my phone.  And I seldom know how God will use this weekly email.  “Love,” we are told, “is patient and kind. … So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” (1 Corinthians 13.4, 13)  Living with faith and hope, we know that ultimately all the “timing” that matters is in the hands of our God who is love (1 John 4.16) … and I’m fine with that – at least for the time!