Thursday, 23 February 2017

My Times.

I suppose like many of you I am finding it hard to believe that we are now in the month of March.  Where did these last few months go?   When I was in primary school we had a history book called ‘The March of Time’ and many of us might feel that the pace does not get any easier.  Mind you, people have warned me over the years that time passes quicker the older you get!  Perhaps, but what matters is how you cope with it.  Some might say you have to cram as much into every day, make the most of what time we have.  Others might point to the importance of having the best of relationships with everyone  we encounter.  You never know when there will be no more time to set right what was wrong.  And still there is that powerful impulse, as old as humankind, to drain as much pleasure out of life while we can, what the prophet  saw as the attitude that says: ‘Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die!’  (Isaiah 22: 13) 

All of this puts pressure upon us and creates an unhealthy drivenness that turns us more and more into ourselves.  But when we look at the spirituality of the ancient people of the Bible there is a great aspiration to live with a constant consciousness of God and to trust in his good purpose for our lives, even when it seems that time is running out for us.  We find this in the Psalms.  Have a look at Psalm 46.  All around the writer there are changes that are challenging, even frightening, but the voice of God is clearly heard to say: ‘Be still, and know that I am God.  Or Psalm 31.  This seems to be a time when there are many pressures acting on David’s life and he fears that he does not possess the resources to cope but he breaks through to the place where he can say: ‘But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands.’ (Psalm 31: 14-15)

That was the assurance that was strong in the soul of the Apostle Paul.  When it seemed that he was the victim of forces beyond his control he was able to say: ‘I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances . . . whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I  can do everything through him who gives me strength.‘  (Philippians 4: 11-13)  

This is something we all need to learn in face of all the challenges of life, not least the feeling that time is running away with us.  We live in the presence of a loving God, who has a good purpose for us.  We might not always see this clearly but we are assured that what has seemed dark to us in this life will be made clear when the Kingdom comes.  Then we will be able to say: ‘My times were in your hands.‘