The first time I heard my mom say, “On time is soon enough,” I didn’t get what the big deal was. The statement seemed like a no-brainer. If a professor said a paper was due on Monday, as long as I turned it in by then, it was soon enough. However, Mom’s statement went much deeper than that. She was referring to God’s timing. For instance, I could pray and ask God for something that I felt like I needed immediately.  If I didn’t get it right at that moment, I got upset. Then a few days later, when I did receive His answer to that prayer, it turned out to be the most perfect timing in the world. On time was soon enough.

When I was about nine years old, I started asking for a puppy.

“We’ll get one when the time is right,” Mom promised. I’m pretty sure she added, “On time is soon enough.” Of course I didn’t want to hear that!

The following year we moved to Tulsa, and the apartment my mom chose was very pet friendly. Soon after our move, a wonderful family named the Gunters gave us a gorgeous toy poodle that I promptly fell in love with and named Cuddles. She was the perfect dog . . . in the perfect place . . . at—gulp—the perfect time.

After graduating from college, while I was still in the transition period between getting a diploma and trying to make a living in the Nashville music community, I relied heavily on Mom for emotional and spiritual support, and on occasion I relied on her financially. One month my rent was coming due, and I knew that I didn’t have enough money to pay it. I called Mom and asked for her assistance.

“This is the hardest thing Mommy has to do, but I can’t help you this time,” she said. “God is your Source; nobody else. You have to learn to trust God to provide for you.”

“But, Mom, my rent is due next week. What am I supposed to do? I’m running out of time.”

“On time is soon enough, Melinda.”

This was definitely not a time I wanted to hear those words!

I prayed that somehow God would provide a way for me to pay my rent, which was due on the first of the month. But the first came, and I still did not have enough money to pay the bill. My rent was not considered past due until the fifth of the month, so I still had hope as I tried to scrape up every available penny. The second and third days passed, and still I was short. On the fourth of the month, I went to my mailbox, and inside it was an envelope. I tore it open and found a check that had come as payment for a background session I had almost forgotten. The check provided just enough for me to pay my rent before it was late.

When I called to tell Mom the good news, she said, “See, baby, God will provide. The answer may not come when you think it should, but on time is soon enough.”

As much as I didn’t want to hear that quote again, I knew in that moment that it was absolutely true.

Not long ago, a friend of mine was going through a difficult period. She and her husband were trying to have a baby, and it wasn’t happening as quickly as she wanted. Without even thinking, I said gently, “On time is soon enough.” My initial reaction was Oh, no! I’m sounding like my mother! But then I thought to myself, And that is a pretty good thing.

Taken from Beyond Me: Finding Your Way to Life’s Next Level by Melinda Doolittle. Copyright © 2010 by Melinda Doolittle. Used by permission of Zondervan.