Timing is Everything

If I can hold a door open for someone, I always do. I learned that at a young age from my Dad. When people say thanks, I often answer, “timing is everything” as they happened to be in the right place at the right time for the gesture to be made.

Timing is that innate force present when opportunity and happenstance collide. Timing serves a role to maintain order and orchestrate the natural flow of events. Actions fall into place at the most suitable moment because of timing.

A great example of timing being everything comes from 2012 when David Zehntner and his wife were returning to their Florida home from a trip to North Carolina. David was flying their Cessna 182 and he typically made a low altitude pass over his home which is under the approach pattern for the nearby airport. They noticed a truck in the driveway and a guy walking around and looking into the windows and testing the doors. The man then attached David’s utility trailer to his hitch and took off with it. They followed the truck for miles in the Cessna and notified the police who caught up with the thief.

“Timing in life is everything” is a quote attributed to John Sculley, former President of Pepsi who led the growth of Apple sales to incredible heights in the 1980s, from $800 million to $8 billion. When asked how he scaled a company at that level, he answered, “the stars aligned- timing is everything.”

The right timing is a crucial aspect of business. I lived through the opposite result of “right” timing in 2020. Just as the technology startup I was working for was set to leap to the next level, the coronavirus pandemic hit—throwing the company’s plans, as well as my position, out the window. From the Lord of the Rings trilogy Frodo says, “I wish it need not have happened in my time;” Gandalf replies, “So do I, and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

We often focus on how and why we do things; however, we must also consider when things get done. Timing can be both a blessing and a curse at certain periods in our lives. We have all been in the right place at the right time as well as the wrong place at the wrong time – not to mention the right place at the wrong time and the wrong place at the right time. Consider Dr. John’s song, “Right Place, Wrong Time” which during the summer of 1973 peaked at number nine on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. He noted the song “was my life for a long time. At the same time, I was in the wrong place at the right time, and the right place in the wrong time, too. That was the problem.”

An aspect of timing that elevated this blog post above the many in the “to be worked on” pile, was a conversation I had with my boss. We were discussing today’s world of scheduled web calls and virtual meetings where people announce they have a ‘hard stop’ at the meeting’s scheduled end time. Yet many of those same people rarely have a ‘hard start’ to be present at the beginning of the meeting. It is my contention, that those who have a ‘hard stop’ with out also having ‘hard start’ are telling us that they value the importance of their timing as more valuable than others.

Our timing needs to be ‘on time’ as opposed to ‘in time.’ ‘On time’ means when something is expected to take place at a specified time and then it takes place accordingly. ‘In time’ means not late or eventually. If dinner is scheduled to start at 6PM, then the right timing is being at the table before 6PM; however, if we hold up dinner knowing someone is still coming, then dinner will be at their timing.

Time has worked its way into several of my blog posts – ‘Wait on the Fastball’ discusses the elements of balance, control, and timing; ‘The Grill Will Let Go of the Protein’ speaks to our timeline not being the ultimate timeline; ‘Lack of Margin Creates Stress’ is how timing can be a buffer against stress; and ‘When the Student is Ready, the Teacher Appears’ where timing can determine awareness, learning, and understanding.

The biggest challenge for me around accepting God’s Will or His plan for me is in accepting His timing. God’s timing is divine timing, events happen at exactly the right moment. People, events, and things are placed in our life for a reason and purpose, even though they may seem harsh, unusual, or absurd. God’s timing is interwoven with God’s will. When we move out of God’s timing, we also move out of His will. We may know what God wants us to do, but as important is to determine when God wants us to act.

In Exodus Chapter 5, when God called Moses to go first to his people and then to Pharaoh to set the Israelites free, Moses resisted, unsure of his ability to complete the task. God promises Moses that, though Pharaoh will resist, eventually Moses will prevail. When the promised resistance comes from Pharaoh, Moses turns to God and accuses him of failing to deliver. Moses wanted even more reassurance that God would fulfill his promise. He did not yet trust God’s timing.

Jesus lived by God’s timing. He based his plans on God’s will and timing. He even questioned his mother at the wedding in Cana about timing (John 2:3-4). God’s timing had Jesus enter the world, go to the cross, and be raised from the dead – all with perfect timing.

While we may not ever know what the timing will be for significant events in our world, we can base our lives on the will, work, and timing of God. To do otherwise would be to miss the redemptive moments in the lives of many people God wants us to influence as well as those He puts in our world to influence us. It can be hard to wait on God’s timing as we watch the clock of life tick by. We need to trust in His timing and ask Him for the peace of mind to be patient. He is working in our lives and all His promises will be fulfilled at the right time. He will be holding the door open for us.

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