I’ll be the first to tell you that my sense of timing is not the best. I repeatedly think that I can fit more activity than possible into a specified chunk of time, which either leaves me scrambling to finish said activity as my time runs out, or apologizing to someone when I show up late. Hands up if you can relate!
Usually, scrambling and running late leaves me with a sense of guilt (“I really goofed.”) or shame (“Why can’t I ever get this right?”). It’s not a good place to be.
When I was reading the account of Jesus’ final days from the book of Luke recently, something caught my eye:
After Jesus died, a man named Joseph took the body down from the cross where he was crucified. Some women who were followers of Jesus looked on. “As his body was taken away, the women from Galilee followed and saw the tomb where his body was place. Then they went home and prepared spices and ointments to anoint his body. But by the time they were finished the Sabbath had begun, so they rested as required by the law.” (Luke 23:55-56)
The women were probably planning on getting those spices and ointments finished before sundown on that Friday. Were they disappointed or feeling grief that they didn’t accomplish all that they had planned? Maybe they felt some guilt or shame over the fact that they couldn’t properly honor the body of Jesus, the man who had showed them so much honor in his lifetime.
Their timing had been all off.
As soon as the Sabbath law allowed them to—very early on Sunday morning—they grabbed their spices and headed over to the tomb, trying to make up for lost time. Were they still feeling shame that they didn’t get it done on Friday like they were supposed to?
As soon as they arrived at the place, they found that things still weren’t going according to plan—you know the feeling of when things go from bad to worse. The body of Jesus wasn’t even there! Now they not only failed to get there on time on Friday, but they failed their task completely. You can’t anoint a body that is not there.
Should have, could have, would have. Their timing was all off.
“As they stood there puzzled, two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes… Then the men asked, ‘Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive? He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead!”
Isn’t God’s grace amazing?
He met these women in their failure with perhaps the greatest honor imaginable—to be among the first ones in all of history who heard the good news of the resurrection.
Where does your timing feel “all kinds of off” right now? Take hope in this story. This same God can meet your guilt and shame with his beautiful grace. Keep your eyes open for how he can use your unexpected circumstances for his glory!