Our Times are in God’s Hands (why time is such a precious resource)


But I trust in you, Lord;
    I say, “You are my God.”
 My times are in your hands…

Psalm 31:14-15

Today, first thing in the morning when I was brewing a pot of my current favorite Wicked Joe’s coffee, this picture of Rebekah and David popped up as a FaceBook memory.

Naomi and Craig were living in Connecticut at the time, David was just five days old, and Rebekah got up there just as soon as she could.

What a difference ten years can make!

We were still living in Brandon, Florida; just that week our church had opened the new building on its expanding campus; Rebekah and I were both 55; we couldn’t even conceptualize the possibility of the distant idea of retirement. Now both Andrew and Naomi are married, we have four beautiful grandchildren, and I couldn’t imagine living anywhere other than here in North Carolina.

Time Games:

The juxtaposition of these images reminds me of how inconsistent, mysterious, unpredictable, and nonlinear time really is. I know, the scientists among us would insist that time is actually a series of incremental, measurable, evenly spaced intervals; but I would argue it behaves entirely differently. Time is often relative, it moves at different speeds depending on our view or our situation, it expands and contracts in response to a variety of variables, is at the same time both non-renewable and limitless, and is one of the few resources all people have access to in equal measure.

Another thing about time: One it is gone, there is no getting it back.

Over the years I have made some good decisions regarding how I interface with time, and I have made some bad ones.

1 – A Good Decision:

A great example of a good time decision is – when I was a school teacher – always turning down the invitation to work summer school. Every year they tried to pressure me: “I know your family could use the money…” and “This will improve your income in retirement…” and “You’re the best SED teacher in the county, these children need you….”

“But summer with my own children is one of the reasons I love being a teacher,” I remember saying. “I will never get this time back if I let it slip away.”

So I never worked summer school; never, ever. Andrew and Naomi and I (plus Rebekah when she could make it work) spent our summers at the beach, at the pool, exploring state parks and museums, playing games on the family room floor, traveling, visiting grandparents…. and so much more.

2 – A Poor Decision:

One sad example of a poor time related decision happened the winter I spent in Bozeman, Montana. A doctor’s family from church invited me to spend a long weekend with them, snowmobiling in Yellowstone National Park. “We’ll stay in our lodge just outside the park,” they said.

“Thanks,” I said. “But it looks like a busy weekend for me; I don’t have the time.”

I remember thinking to myself that, “I’ll snowmobile three days in Yellowstone some other time.”

Right. “Some. Other. Time.”

I was 20. 20-year-olds who don’t live in the Rocky Mountains don’t have the awareness to understand that there will never be “some other time,” some other day when they will be invited by a doctor’s family to stay at their mountain lodge, and snowmobile into Yellowstone Park!

Managing Time?

Okay, that was an interesting set of divergent thoughts. So how can we make this time thing more manageable? How can we engage time so that it works in our favor? How can we live in the right way when it comes to understanding a day, a moment, a year, a decade?

It’s simple, really, and it all harkens back to this discussion we have been having around the idea that now – today, this moment, the situation in which we currently find ourselves – is what God refers to as “the acceptable time.”

But I trust in you, Lord;
    I say, “You are my God.”
 My times are in your hands…

Psalm 31:14-15
– Rebekah and Derek Maul (October 2021)

I love that concept. Everything about this moment rests in the hands of God. If I can live into, and live out of, this essential idea then I will neither waste nor regret the time I have.

David, we will have this conversation again when you are 20. And, God-willing, when you are 30 too.

Our times are in God’s hands – DEREK

We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. For He says:

“In an acceptable time I have heard you,
And in the day of salvation I have helped you.

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

2 Corinthians 6

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