Everything Happens at the Right Time
Yael Eckstein | October 4, 2020
My times are in your hands;
deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
from those who pursue me. — Psalm 31:15
In honor of my father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, and his lifework helping Christians understand the Jewish roots of their faith, I offer you one of his devotional teachings from the beloved Psalms. As Sukkot is a non-working holiday, these devotions were prepared for you in advance.
Time can be a funny thing. It often feels like we are at the wrong place at the wrong time. In other situations it feels like time is going too slow — or too fast. Things that we want to happen right now don’t, and other things, like old age, seem to be approaching all too quickly. However, in Psalm 31, King David wrote that everything in our lives happens at exactly the right time. As he said to God: “My times are in your hands.”
The verse continues “deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me.” The Jewish sages teach that this psalm, which was a cry for divine help and protection, was written while David was trying to escape from King Saul who was out to destroy him. This was David’s specific problem, but we all have our “enemies” in life — be they physical, emotional, financial, or otherwise. We all experience challenges that are too much for us to bear alone, and we pray to God to intervene and save us. Yet, it is so important to remember what David reminds us in this verse — our times are in God’s hands. He will make everything happen for us at exactly the right moment.
As soon as we have faith that God is working to save us and that salvation will come not a minute too early or a minute too late, we can have peace. Instead of the constant turmoil that can consume a person going through difficulties, we can experience tranquility knowing that we are in very good hands.
In the Jewish tradition, when we hear that someone is pregnant, we don’t say “Congratulations!” Rather, the correct response is “In a good hour,” meaning “I wish for you that your baby will come at exactly the right time!” That’s the blessing that an expecting couple needs most.
After the baby is born we will shout cheers of “Mazel Tov!” However, before that baby is born, we pray that he or she will come when the moment is right. Too early or too late is dangerous and can endanger the life of the baby. In addition, we believe that the day, month, and year that any child is born has impact for a lifetime. So it is of utmost importance that every baby enters the world at exactly the right time.
Next time you get frustrated and feel like things are happening too slow or too fast in your life, try repeating King David’s words: “My times are in your hands.” When we stay in faith, God will help us birth every dream and realize every promise — at exactly the right time.
Download a complimentary chapter on Sukkot: Teaching Our Children Faith, from my new book, Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith, to discover the important lessons about faith found in this festive celebration.