I suppose every mother can imagine the meaning of the phrase “In the fullness of time.” There is no “hurrying up” a baby’s birth. At seven months, a pregnant woman cannot say, “O.K. I’ve had it. Today’s the day I’m going to have the baby.”
Authors of scripture use that phrase from time to time. For example, note these words from Galatians 4:4:
“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.”
But, you say, “I’m not pregnant, nor do I intend to be. What does this phrase have to do with me?”
I believe God waits with us for a specific time—the fullness of time, so to speak—to bring about the big events of our lives.
Like the tired pregnant woman, we often wish the trial or the long waiting period we are experiencing would end. But God, in His silence, appears to be waiting for some specific time and place and manner in which to answer our long and persistent prayers.
Scripture gives us many examples of the way He dealt with people after He put them through long periods of waiting when He could have come sooner and answered their prayers.
We see one example of this in Peter, the Disciple of Jesus. In his weakness, he disowned Jesus on the night before the crucifixion. He immediately repented and wept over his sin, but Jesus waited to set things right and commission Peter for further service.
Can you imagine how Peter must have felt when, with the other disciples, they beheld Jesus as He came to them after the resurrection in the upper room? Nothing in the text suggests that Jesus specifically addressed Peter in those visits. Did Peter wonder whether Jesus was still hurt and terribly grieved over his sin? Did he wonder whether his days of service to Christ were over, yet long for Jesus to speak his name?
We get a little more insight into Jesus’ approach to Peter when, on the seashore several days later He pulled Peter aside and asked Him the very personal questions about Peter’s commitment to Him as recorded in John 21:15-19. And not only did Jesus finally speak to Peter, He showed His love and call on Peter’s life by reinstating him and commissioning him as a leader in guiding the Early Church.
When we wait for God to come to us, we must believe He has a “fullness of time” which He has appointed. We should long to hear Him speak our name, to teach us what He wants us to have learned through the pain, and expect Him who has called us in the past to place a new assignment in our hands. What will He “birth” in us?