Synchronize Your Watches

That phrase brings up images of undercover espionage, doesn’t it? For me, it calls up mental film clips from the old “Mission Impossible” TV series. The team is about to execute another “impossible” game plan that relies on split-second timing and razor sharp accuracy. Everyone makes sure that their watches are synchronized—set to exactly the same time, right to the fraction of a second—so that all of the dancers in the upcoming intelligence ballet will flow in perfect rhythm.

From time to time, we’re reminded how important even minor shifts in timing can be. To a trapeze artist, a split second timing error can literally heave you hanging in thin air. For the rest of us, timing is just as critical. A few seconds of delay could prevent a lot of automobile collisions. A sales person who “just misses” a potential client could find out that his competitor was right on time, and got the sale. In the Stock Market, the exact timing of a transaction can mean thousands of dollars in profit or loss. If you dwell on it long enough, you can actually become petrified of almost anything, because your moment of delay or prematurity could turn your potential success into a flaming failure. That’s the point where we have to remember that God is sovereign, smart, and savvy—and able to see the situation much better than we can. His timing is always right on the money—and IF we allow Him to direct and lead us, our timing will be right on, too.

We experienced a great example of God’s perfect timing over the weekend. We needed to drop Sharon’s car off at the mechanic for a few days of intensive care, and since we both have busy Mondays we decided to try dropping it off on Sunday afternoon. We figured we could find a key drop (or improvise one), and I’d call first thing in the morning. After church (and a pot luck lunch), we dropped by the house, changed clothes, and decided to go ahead and take the car so we’d “have it over with.” After following each other across town, we pulled up to the mechanic’s place, drove through the gate, and were met by a wrecker on the way out. The driver stopped us, and told us the place was closed. We explained our purpose, and he graciously showed us where to leave the key, and waited while we wrote the mechanic a note. What we didn’t know was that the gate is normally closed and locked all day on Sunday. The towing company had been called to tow an abandoned vehicle to a storage lot that the mechanic leased to the State Police. Had we been 30 seconds later, or a few minutes earlier, we would have been sitting in front of the locked gate growling at it. Instead, our timing was just perfect. Every stop light, every slow truck, and every stop sign worked together to bring us to exactly the right place at the right time. Some might call it “luck.” We call it “blessing.” As far as we’re concerned, God timed us out just right, and since we didn’t take it upon ourselves to “help” Him by taking short-cuts or breaking laws, we were right where we needed to be at exactly the right moment.

It doesn’t always happen that way, because I’m a stubborn man who keeps having the urge to “help God out.” To God, I must be like the little boy banging on boards with his toy hammer, trying to “help Daddy” build a house. Cute, but sometimes in the way—and just a little annoying.

It’s important to “synchronize our watches” with God. We need to sense His timing, and let Him set agendas and unlock doors of opportunity for us. Sometimes, I lag behind God, and find the door locked—I missed out on an opportunity. Sometimes I get ahead of God, and find the door locked. Then, I impatiently move on to something else, and when He unlocks the door, I’m not even nearby. Once in a while—and with His help, I hope it becomes more often than not—I get my watch synchronized with God’s, and don’t even have to turn the handle. God turns it for me, and holds the door open while I pass through.

Hey, I just had a wild thought—what do you suppose might happen if we were to synchronize watches with God every day? Maybe that’s what Jesus meant in Matthew 26:31, when He told Peter to “watch and pray.”

(Sorry, I just couldn’t resist). 🙂

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