It’s the end of the first month of a new year as I write about time. Time takes so long yet it rushes away. It seems the longer I live, the worse I become at calculating time. When I don’t have time to get to everything I want to do today, I assume I can catch up tomorrow. I always think I have more time to cram more tasks into a morning before I arrive at work.
I wasn’t created to become a slave to time. In the original creation time was not a constraint. It was simply a measure of God’s goodness. The first day began a succession of many other days, each a gift to receive. That was before sin. Time became a burden after the fall of mankind. Limited time is a fallout from sin and death. Time sentences my existence on earth to a number of years, months and days.
Still I would not want unlimited time on earth—this earth filled with sin—even if there were no death. God has limited the time we live on earth as a gift. He did not create a world that could be overrun by sin without death—a time limit. God knows that eternal life in sin is not good for our souls. God trampled death by death. He trampled more than death; He trampled sin by death. The death of Himself revealed in His Son constrains sin and death and limits our time to have both burdening our souls.
Completing the first month of a new year gives me pause. Have I calculated the time contained in the month of January well? When the calendar turned from December to January, I felt unprepared. January seemed to blow up on me. All the events I had calendared for that distant month ahead demanded my time. There were gifts of time I had not planned too, like the unexpected mid-January day off for Martin Luther King. Who knew how much I would need a day like that—just to do nothing? I was invited to two short get-a-ways into nature preserves that restored my soul and readied me for the demands of the month. An airline sale enabled me to take a short flight to celebrate a 60th birthday at the last minute.
I do not have unlimited time to do the work God has purposed for me to do. I only have this moment for sure. So how do I make the best of it? The only answer I can share it to walk through time deeply aware that it is a gift from God and that I have no way to control or turn back any moment or decision regarding time. I invite the light of the new day—and the sunrise/sunset every time I can catch a glimpse—to remind me that our God, our Father, is a good God and He has good reasons for me to be in this time in this place. I experience time best when I become aware of the present. I pray for the worries—the sickness that abounds in January germs, the conflicts that still arise in a world fed by greed, the realization of the failures from the days already lived that cannot be made up—and live in the present. Where can I do the work God has given me to do?
Before the fall, Adam and Eve spent their unlimited time discovering God’s gifts in this world. They worked in the garden and rested in the afternoon, sharing their joy from living with the God who had given them life. Living our time like that includes struggles, unforgiveness, hurt and anger…but it remains the best way to live our sentence of time. I have full confidence that God knows best how and when to pull the plug on time. Jesus tells us this in Matthew 24:22 (If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.) as well as Peter in 2 Peter 3:9 (The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.) God gives me a gift of time yet I don’t know how much time He has given to me. This forces me to live it best one day at a time for His glory.