It's God's Time!
by Diana Murphy
Time. We never seem to have enough. That circular instrument hanging on the wall controls our lives. Its hands are constantly waving us on to the next task or appointment. We somehow think we can continue indefinitely with our frenzied lifestyle, until our body rebels. Blood pressure gets out of control, headaches become more frequent, or our digestive system malfunctions. As a result, we complain to our doctor who prescribes medication and suggests we get more rest.
Our work schedules, our to-do lists, family responsibilities, church commitments, and expectations of friends drive us. All of these are good ways to spend our time and none of them should be neglected. So what can we do when everything we must or want to accomplish consumes our time to the point of exhaustion? It’s a challenge faced by many of us. We go on day after day trying desperately to keep our heads “above water,” or merely “keep our heads.”
“There must be a way to fit it all in,” we say.
I tried to fit it all into my seven-day week. I made my lists and set priorities. I thought God would bless my busyness. After all, I was teaching children at school and I was leading the children’s ministry at our church. I was hosting dinners and occasional overnight guests. I worried about getting everything done. The busier I became, the less joy I experienced. Was this the way God wanted me to live? I didn’t think so.
Jesus came to give us life more abundantly. He said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (Jn. 10:10b). My life felt full, but I didn’t feel like I had a fulfilled life.
As I looked closely at the life of Jesus I noticed that He too was busy, but He made some stops along the way. He stopped to heal the sick, cast out the demons, or even to raise the dead. Then I read, “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Lk. 5:16).
Could that be the answer? Is withdrawing from the busyness and taking time to pray the way to get more done? Yes, it seems it is. I have discovered that pausing for a short rest or even a nap helps to refocus my thoughts. At times these rests are necessary for my well-being; other times they may come as interruptions forcing me to pause. Reading the Scriptures further I found the Apostle Peter had something to say to me: “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms” (1 Pet. 4:10 ).
I realized my life needed to consist of faithful service to others and worship of God. In his book, Cure for the Common Life, Max Lucado said it this way: “Worship can happen everyday in every deed. We can make a big deal about God on Sundays with our songs and on Mondays with our strengths. Each time we do our best to thank God for giving His, we worship. “Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering’” (Rom. 12:1, MSG).
What would happen if I thought of my schedule as my service list, my offerings and sacrifices given in worship to God? Considering this question changed my outlook. My attitude changed from “I have to do this” to “I am using my gift(s) to serve others.”
My lifestyle certainly became more biblical. Instead of worrying and stressing over what didn’t get done, I rejoiced in what did get done. My busyness and harried attitude changed to a happy attitude. My focus changed from doing things to being God’s servant. My schedule may not look different, but how I approached it changed.
Jesus took time to pray. How can I do any less? Prayer must saturate my day. I pray for my family as I serve them. I pray for that student who is struggling to correct his behavior. I must stay close to God’s Word, learning as I live. God cares about me and wants to work through me. He wants to love and forgive others through me. He has given me time and the abilities and strengths to fill that time with service to others.
God has placed me in the world at this particular place and time to serve Him. This world, however, seems unfriendly and even frightening sometimes. This is the world God created that has been soiled by sin and sinful people. Sometimes the sin and evil of this world distracts me, and I miss the blessings along the way.
God showed me that He is still in control of His creation. The majestic mountains still stand, the ocean waves still rush in and out, the stars still display His greatness, and the miracle of new birth continues. In their song, Don’t Let Me Miss the Glory, Joe Beck and Carl Cartee remind me that all creation sings to the honor of God’s Name and my prayer should be, “Don’t let me miss the glory!”
God is present in the world. His Spirit is working through His Word and through His people. His power is evident in His work. I realized that I should not live my life so wrapped up in my schedules and to-do lists that I miss the sunsets, the rainbows, the hummingbirds, the butterflies, the chattering children, the cooing infants, the answered prayers, the loving embrace of family, and lost people coming home to Jesus.
Time. We have twenty-four hours every day. The sun rises and sets. Will you notice? Will someone be more aware of God’s work in the world because of you? We are beginning a new year. Will you frame your calendar in eternal values? Will you honor God with your time?
God desires our worship through work and our lives lived to praise His Name. We can look forward to the day when our time living on this earth is over and He says, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:23).