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Monday, October 28, 2013

12. Spiritual Land Mine #1: Poor Timing

Note: This is one of a series of posts devoted to the study of D&C 93:1, and the 12th examining the phrase "calleth on my name".

Yep, timing is everything...

Timing is Everything

In a prior post, I mentioned how all to often, we desire a righteous blessing while minimizing the behaviors necessary to attain it.  We find it easier to "dream" than to "do".

Knowing this, Satan can and definitely does play off our impatience for a blessing -- especially profound ones. 

Some people have an enthusiasm to actually see the Lord in mortality.  Perhaps more strongly desire to actually hear his voice in their hearts and minds.

Both are righteous desires.

Yet in some cases, the enthusiasm, the zeal, to experience such blessings overrides true knowledge of the blessing, and the proper application of that knowledge (aka "wisdom").

We often forget that the Lord’s pattern for revealing truths to us is "line upon line, precept upon precept" (2 Nephi 28:30).  Not even the Prophet Joseph Smith learned all the fundamental truths of the restored gospel at once in the Sacred Grove.  These priceless treasures were revealed as circumstances warranted and as the timing was right.  Knowledge and understanding come at the price of patience.
"And behold, I, the Lord, declare unto you, and my words are sure and shall not fail, that they shall obtain it.  But all things must come to pass in their time."  (D&C 64:31–32; emphasis mine)
The first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Faith means trust — trust in God’s will, trust in His way of doing things, and trust in His timetable.  We should not try to impose our timetable on His.  As Elder Neal A. Maxwell said,
"The issue for us is trusting God enough to trust also His timing.  If we can truly believe He has our welfare at heart, may we not let His plans unfold as He thinks best?  The same is true with the second coming and with all those matters wherein our faith needs to include faith in the Lord’s timing for us personally, not just in His overall plans and purposes. ("Even As I Am" [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1982], p. 93).
Elder Maxwell also said,
"Since faith in the timing of the Lord may be tried, let us learn to say not only, ‘Thy will be done,’ but patiently also, ‘Thy timing be done’" (April 2001 General Conference, p. 76; also “Plow in Hope,” Ensign, May 2001, p. 59).
Indeed, we cannot have true faith in the Lord without also having complete trust in the Lord’s will and in the Lord’s timing.

Balance Your Spiritual Timing


Brother Joseph was aware of our tendency to be overly-enthusiastic when he said,
"Many, having a zeal not according to knowledge, and not understanding the pure principles of the doctrine of the Church, have, no doubt, in the heat of enthusiasm, taught and said many things which were derogatory to the genuine character and principles of the Church; and for these things we are heartily sorry, and would apologize, if apology would do any good." (Joseph Smith, History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 7 Vols. 2:255).

Although it's good to have zeal, it must be balanced with knowledge.  Our search for knowledge should be ceaseless -- open-ended, never resting on laurels, degrees, or past achievements.  Hugh Nibley stated,
"The quality in which the Saints have always excelled is zeal. Zeal is the engine that drives the whole vehicle, without it we would get nowhere. But without clutch, throttle, brakes, and steering wheel, our mighty engine becomes an instrument of destruction, and the more powerful the motor, the more disastrous the inevitable crack-up if the proper knowledge is lacking." (Hugh Nibley, "Nibley on the Timely and the Timeless", p. 266-267)
If more people could only understand this point:
"True knowledge never shuts the door on more knowledge, but zeal often does." (Hugh Nibley, "Zeal without Knowledge", Classic Essays of Hugh W. Nibley, 2nd Edition; I highly recommend reading this classic from Brother Hugh)

Zeal and knowledge must be balanced with wisdom:
"'s eternal salvation - God's greatest gift to man - is dependent upon his knowledge; for it is impossible for a man to be saved in ignorance (D&C 131:6).  Wisdom is the right use of knowledge and comprehends judgment, discrimination, prudence, discretion, and study. 'To know is not to be wise,' says Spurgeon. 'Many men know a great deal and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool.  But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.'" (Pres. David O. McKay, Conference Report, April 1968, p.8)

Wanna Bend the Lord's Ear?

The engine of Zeal.  The brakes of Knowledge.  The driving judgment of Wisdom.

As you keep those three virtues in balance, as you exhibit real patience in God, you're not only exhibiting faith in Him, but also His will and timing.

And in so doing, He will do something in return to you: He will incline himself to you.
"I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined [Hebrew, natah: to stretch out, extend, spread out, pitch, turn, incline, bend, bow]* unto me, and heard [Hebrew, shama: to hear intelligently; to understand] my cry.
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord." (Psalm 40:1–3; comments and emphasis mine).
By avoiding this landmine of adverse timing, you will go far in eliminating the barriers which delay or prevent your ability to meaningfully dialogue with the Lord, and more.

In fact, the effects will be so noticeable, so apparent, that "many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord."


Timing is everything.

* Natah (inclined) is also used in the following verses, which (especially the first one below) sound vaguely familiar for some reason...

Psalm 130: 2 -- "Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications." 
Psalm 116:2 -- "Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live."
Daniel 9:18 -- "O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies."


  1. Thank you! Thank you! Thank You! Having that 3 legged stool as a visual really helped me. Also it was wonderful to have that link to the Nibley Article. I read the whole thing and will be pondering it. Yes, I want to bend the Lord's ear. Thank you for showing me the way. I love to make book marks from things I have learned. I think I'll be making a bookmark with the following- The engine of Zeal. The brakes of Knowledge. The driving judgment of Wisdom.This post with all of your other post have been a huge blessing in my life. I'm grateful that you are sharing your insights with me and countless others.

  2. You are always hitting the nail right on the head! My problem has always been finding balance with just about everything. With the 3 legged stool, the only way it won't fall over is if we keep the 3 legs firmly on the ground…balanced perfectly. What a wonderful analogy. As I was reading section 93, John also reminds us that even The Savior didn't have the fulness in the beginning either. "He received the fulness not at the first, but continued from grace to grace, until he received a fulness". I guess I should't expect it to be any different for me. (as much as I would like it to be!) :)

  3. Truly we learn line upon line and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little. Our impatience begins when a little is not enough. Patience is living life according to the Lord's time line and not our own. Thank you for your post. KH