I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. -Psalm 119:11
By Yodit Kifle Smith
“He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.’” (Acts 1:7)
Jesus’ disciples spent three years, day in and day out, learning from Him and learning who He was and God's purposes through Him. Sadly, at times, they just didn’t get it. Remember when they witnessed Him feeding thousands of people with 5 fish and 2 loaves, yet immediately became worried when they realized they forgot to bring any of the bread to the next place they went as if they would starve? (Matthew 16:5-12) Or that time when they were in the boat during a storm and they find Jesus in the stern peacefully sleeping on the cushion? They freaked out and asked Him “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And with two words, Jesus rebuked the wind and all was calm (Mark 4: 38-41).
It would take some time, but slowly they began to see that He was truly the Son of God—the promised One from the Old Testament who would have to die and resurrect from death to bring salvation, radically transforming all who repented and believed in Him.
Yet in those three years of learning and feeling like they were finally understanding His plans, they were confronted with the reality that they still didn’t know everything.
In Acts 1:6-11, we find Jesus gathered with His disciples after He had resurrected and right before He ascended. By then, his disciples were sure that His resurrection would be the fulfillment of the promise and the kingdom of God would be restored and all would be well. So, they asked Him, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6)
And His response in Acts 1:7 is one that that would do us good to pay attention to as we face struggles with trusting in the Lord with all of our hearts and not leaning on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6).
“He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.’” (Acts 1:1-7)
“It is not for you to know…”
Can you imagine if the Lord had told the disciples how long it would actually be before He rules on earth once and for all? And that they would face persecution as they helped build the His church and spreading His Gospel?
It’s hard for us to consider that not knowing something can be more of an act of God’s mercy than His simply withholding from us. Think back to the garden of Eden. There we see God’s love displayed through the parameters He set for Adam and Eve. Yet, the deception of Satan’s lie caused them to think that God was withholding good from them when He told them not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:7). What was meant for them to not know for their good became the very thing that ended up separating them (and us) from God- all because they believed a lie over the truth of God’s love.
Here is what we must be willing to accept: God is merciful to not tell us everything. But He does tell us enough to sustain us if we would trust His character and His Word over our feelings and the discomfort of not knowing. When we want to so badly know the when, how, why, who, where…let us remember that not knowing right away is His mercy on display. If we would see this act as a way that He cares for us by not giving us the burden of carrying knowledge before its time, then we could see that He isn’t trying to be deceptive in not showing us the whole picture, the next step or the end of the road. He is in fact, lovingly giving us the way to deeper trust.
“…the seasons or the times that the Father has fixed by His own authority.”
We know that God created both the seasons and the times (Genesis 1). But we have made ourselves believe that we can control them. And while His word encourages us to make the most of our time (Ephesians 5:16), It doesn’t give us any indication that we are in control of it.
Perhaps you are desperately trying to find out what season you are in or the timing for the prayer you’ve been praying. Or maybe you are overwhelmed by all the chaos that you see in this world, wondering what will happen and what this all means. Here is Jesus reminding His disciples then and reminding us now to know that it’s all His. And it’s all under His authority. While our hearts long for control, God gently helps us relinquish that control by telling us that it’s fixed by His authority. We don’t need to worry.
No matter how long or how closely we’ve walked with the Lord, there will be things we won’t know on this side of heaven (1 Cor. 13:9) Our calling is to walk in the grace He gives us, completely trusting that He—the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and end—is the One who sees the end from the beginning in each of our lives. He orders our steps. We need only to walk by the very gift He gives us and empowers to live in—FAITH. And that faith is made firm as we remain in His Word.
Lastly, while verse 7 is very important—verse 8 is what Jesus tells His disciples to focus on more than trying to figure out what’s to come. He says, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”
We don’t know what tomorrow holds for us. But the One who holds it has made the way for us to know Him and He’s given us His Holy Spirit in this very moment to walk in obedience to Him and be a witness for Him wherever we go.
Sisters, as tempting as it is to control our seasons and our times, know this---we aren’t meant to. It defeats the purpose of not only walking by faith, but our confession that He is not just our Savior but our Lord and King. He is Sovereign. May we rest—truly rest, in the truth that we don’t have to know everything because the One Who knows is better equipped to lead us because He’s given us work to do.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The weekly devotionals seek to encourage you to dig deeper into Scripture as you take the time to daily read, meditate, and internalize the verses in the devotional, along with the passages provided below to give greater context. Take the time to read them throughout the week (repetition is important) and ask the Holy Spirit to help you grasp what God is showing you about Himself, about you, and how to live in light of these truths.
Passages to read/memorize/meditate:
Genesis 1, 2:7
1 Corinthians 13:9
Questions to Reflect on: