There’s something profoundly beautiful about the phrase from Galatians 4, “the fullness of time.” In context, it refers to the “just-so” moment that God sent forth His Son to redeem those under the law (verses 4 and 5); something for which He long ago planned and prepared the way, set into motion at precisely the right moment, to bring about His purposes, for His glory. It’s a phrase that makes me think of the muscadines that grow on the arbor behind our house…the lengthy annual process of watching them form and grow and ripen and turn; the waiting, waiting, waiting until they are finally full and ready to burst. It’s a wonderful reminder of the absolute sovereignty of a heavenly Father that, to quote John Piper, is always doing 10,000 things in our lives while we may be aware of only 3 of them.
This phrase inspires awe and gratitude in my own heart at the moment for a very personal reason. For, in the fullness of His impeccable timing, God has heard and answered one of the deepest desires of my human heart.
In the fullness of time, I sat at my desk at work one day in summer 2017 feeling a bit desperate for something to change; praying the prayer I’ve prayed thousands of times, asking for God to satisfy the longing in my heart or to make it go away once and for all. Literally in the same moment (no exaggeration!), a dear family friend sent the email that would change my life, asking to facilitate an introduction to their daughter-in-law’s cousin.
In the fullness of time, I began to get to know a man who is a unique compound of strength and smarts and energy and initiative and curiosity about the world; a man who is quick to notice the beauties of God’s creation and delights in experiencing its joys; a man who overcomes his natural shyness with a delightful, unpretentious friendliness and concern for others; a man who authentically loves Jesus and is growing in Him; a man who unashamedly and tenderly loves his family (particularly his fine assortment of nieces and nephews); a man who cares deeply for others and desires for them to know and grow in Christ; a man characterized by humility and honesty and generosity, a sense of adventure and a ready laugh, good sense and good fun.
In the fullness of time, the relationship that followed formed and grew and ripened and turned as sweetly as the wild grapes in late summer, flourishing in spite of the improbable and sometimes-daunting circumstances of a relationship conducted mostly by long distance (we live almost 2,500 miles apart at opposite ends of the country) and the differences that God has used to grow and stretch and mature us both.
In the fullness of time, the man that I have grown to love and respect came on family vacation, and invited me to go for a sunrise walk, and got down on one knee in the white sand of the gulf shore, and asked me to marry him. It was perfect.
In the fullness of time, on a rainy January day, we covenanted before the Lord and the people we love to commit the rest of our lives together in marriage, for the glory of God.
It is exquisitely sweet. It is a glorious glimpse of grace. It is a pressed-down-shaken-together-running-over kind of gift from the Father who delights in giving good things to His children (all the more awe-inspiring that He does, because He would still be gracious and good if He did not). It is a sacred privilege to walk through the imperfections of this life in the companionship of another imperfect being, in a joyful waiting and anticipation of the perfect redemption to come.
Soli Deo gloria.