2017-10-18 - Time
As I was growing up, I recall learning about time. In elementary school, I learned how to tell time and how to apply it to daily living. I had sheets to practice applying those times to clocks, in association with questions about my activities throughout the day. So I learned to correlate specific hours in each day with getting ready for school, having lunch, going to class, going home, dinner time, play time, bath time and bedtime. As a youth and then later as an adult, the same general principles apply as well; there is a time for everything. The seconds, minutes and hours of a day will pass in the same manner each day, yet many other things about life are not as predictable. Each of our times in this life varies, people we spend time with changes throughout our lives, and the types of experiences each of us has throughout our lives is often quite different. I surmised over the years that while we are expected to be faithful in diligent in use of the time we are given, that we are not the ones in charge of the dispensing of that time.
I was given my first glimpse of how our existence is beyond our own ultimate authority, when I was five years old. Our family returned from my Grandmother’s house two days before Christmas, to the phone ringing inside our townhouse. It was the night we learned my cousin died at home in my Uncle’s arms, after a relatively brief battle with Leukemia. He was the same age as my brother of seven years. The timing seemed scary to me at that time, since I imagined lives being much longer like my great grandmother’s ninety-six years. But spiritually speaking, age is just the number of days we are given to do what God designed us to do for His glory. Each of our experiences is designed to coincide with our individual missions, even though in this world many times, those battles end up how we are defined as individuals. My memories of my sweet cousin are about fun times we had with him, his kindness, and his generosity for such a young age. Those are what define the essence of his soul to me.
My own most prominent challenge for over the past fifteen years has been unpredictably changing levels of chronic pain. Just as my cousin was more than an illness to me, my own trial is not how I want to be defined, so I am learning how to be specific in how I speak of it, rather than my prior instinct to just not discuss it at all. Depending on how we share our journeys, we can lift others up and feel less alone, as well as keep ourselves from being too isolated along the way. I want to be intentional and be a good steward of my words and of my time, too. Also I want to be a good steward of the timing of those words. I want to honor the one who sent me on the mission.
God is on a very different level of thinking: (Isaiah 55:7-9 NASB)
“Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the Lord, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.” “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
Time was designed by the Father: (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 ESV)
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.”
ONLY God’s in Charge: (Job 38:1-41 NIV)
“Then the Lord spoke to Job out of the storm. He said:
“Who is this that obscures my plans
with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer me.
“Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set,
or who laid its cornerstone–while the morning stars sang together
and all the angels shouted for joy? “Who shut up the sea behind doors
when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment
and wrapped it in thick darkness, when I fixed limits for it
and set its doors and bars in place, when I said,
‘This far you may come and no farther;
here is where your proud waves halt’?
“Have you ever given orders to the morning,
or shown the dawn its place, that it might take the earth by the edges
and shake the wicked out of it? The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
its features stand out like those of a garment. The wicked are denied their light,
and their upraised arm is broken. “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
or walked in the recesses of the deep? Have the gates of death been shown to you?
Have you seen the gates of the deepest darkness?
Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all this. “What is the way to the abode of light?
And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places?
Do you know the paths to their dwellings? Surely you know, for you were already born!
You have lived so many years! “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
or seen the storehouses of the hail, which I reserve for times of trouble,
for days of war and battle? What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,
or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?
Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a path for the thunderstorm, to water a land where no one lives,
an uninhabited desert, to satisfy a desolate wasteland
and make it sprout with grass? Does the rain have a father?
Who fathers the drops of dew? From whose womb comes the ice?
Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens when the waters become hard as stone,
when the surface of the deep is frozen? “Can you bind the chains of the Pleiades?
Can you loosen Orion’s belt? Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons
or lead out the Bear with its cubs? Do you know the laws of the heavens?
Can you set up God’s dominion over the earth? “Can you raise your voice to the clouds
and cover yourself with a flood of water? Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’? Who gives the ibis wisdom
or gives the rooster understanding? Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens when the dust becomes hard
and the clods of earth stick together? “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
and satisfy the hunger of the lions when they crouch in their dens
or lie in wait in a thicket?”
“Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?”
Success is Completing God’s Mission: (Isaiah 48:14-16 NIV)
“Come together, all of you, and listen: Which of the idols has foretold these things?
The Lord’s chosen ally will carry out his purpose against Babylon;
his arm will be against the Babylonians. I, even I, have spoken; yes, I have called him.
I will bring him, and he will succeed in his mission. “Come near me and listen to this: “From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret; at the time it happens, I am there.” And now the Sovereign Lord has sent me,
endowed with his Spirit.”
All verses are from the King James Version (KJV) unless otherwise noted.
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