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Time on our Hands

Tightrope WalkerI don’t know about you, but the isolation was okay at first. I am used to working on my own, and being responsible for my own timetable, so with the unexpected exceptional gift of hours, I settled easily into getting on with tasks that I had put off or abandoned a long time ago, but as weeks have turned to months, I have struggled.

I’ve completed the easier tasks, that needed little effort but some application. Now there are still tasks that I must do...plenty of them, but they need concentration and I can’t seem to settle. I’ve spent most of the week procrastinating, doing very little, except to be frustrated with myself at the end of each gloriously sunny day.

Like most of the world, I am struggling with time, no longer juggling it but learning to walk an unfamiliar tightrope that doesn’t seem to have a platform to land on at the other side. 

Maybe in these unfamiliar times, some have been struggling with how to occupy vast swathes of unexpected time, not quite knowing quite what to do with it all amidst restrictive rules. Conversely, others may be grappling with how to fit in expanded work hours amidst the chaos of the unknown, risking their lives to save others.

We never know what is just around the corner; how one small thing can change the course and predictability of our lives in an instant. But as Christians, even when we do not know the outcomes for the future, even when there seems no way back to the times we knew before, and the only way is forward into the unfamiliar and unknown- we can believe in these words...

“But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands...” Psalm 31: 14-15a

The Time of our Lives

Although measured with great accuracy, time can be an elusive, slippery character, shape shifting to suit our perceptions and fill out the space before us. As we get older, we realise that time has the fluid ability to seemingly both drag slowly and heavily but also to whizz past, years passing us by in an instant.

We know that the more absorbed we are in the moment; the faster time will go. Research confirms that time proceeds more slowly in empty intervals, yet speeds up when episodes are crammed with activity, especially when we are absorbed in the moment.

The Gift of Time

cropped square part hands

 

 

But can we trust the Psalmist who tells us that our time is in God’s hands? Time is such a precious gift, and we each have a limited amount on earth. It is all too easy to let time slip by, frittering it with immediate short-term goals rather than long term vision.

So, firstly, we must open this gift, use it wisely, share it with others, ensuring God is at the centre of each day, but how can we risk putting our whole life ; all the time we have on earth- into the hands of God?

These hands of God... are they really a safe pair of hands? How can we be sure?

 

 

What Makes a Safe Pair of Hands...?

1. Hands to Trust
Nobody puts their hand in the hands of someone they do not trust. David, the psalmist who wrote these words, tells us “You are my God”. He knows God personally, enough to call him my God, as we would acknowledge my friend, my child, my husband, wife, partner. David has learned to trust God over time and God has never let him down. We, too, can trust God, inviting him into our lives, and confidently laying each minute into his hands.

2. Strong and Powerful Hands
Bible pageThe hands of God are often described as being strong in the Bible. That sounds reassuring to me, for I so often feel weak, fearful, and anxious.

“Your arm is endowed with power; your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.” Psalm 89:13

“I am the first and the last. My own hand laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens...”. Isaiah 48: 13

Think of the strength of the hand of God, through all he has done. God created the world, and acts on behalf of his people. He sent floods and rescued his people, parted the seas, broke down the walls of Jericho, closed the lions’ mouths, stilled the stormy waters, defeated his enemies. The rules of time and space do not apply to God. His times are not our times. 

“With the Lord, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day.” 2 Peter 3: 8

Yet, time and again, Scripture shows how God acts with strength and power for the sake of his people, often in unexpected ways. Let us trust our lives to his strong and capable hands.

3. Hands that Protect & Sustain
Strength and power can often be characteristics to be afraid of...but not with God, for he also equips us with strength to sustain us, too.

“It is God who arms me with strength.... you give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me.” Psalm 18: 32-35

He is the Good Shepherd, who, when we follow him, protects us.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. “ John 10:28-29

4. Generous Hands
As parents, we long to give good gifts to our children. We long for them to have their hearts desire. So, how much more to us, is the overwhelming generosity of God our Father. From the many gifts of creation to all we are, we have much to be thankful for, and every reason to trust God with the times of our lives.

“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” Matthew 7:11

 “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment?” Ecclesiastes 2: 24-25

5. Loving Hands
God’s very nature is love. It is the essence of his being. He acts in love, with the ultimate action being of sacrificing his Son, Jesus for each of us. When we look at the scarred hands of Jesus, we see the loving hands of God. How can we not trust him with our days, when he has sacrificed so much already for us?

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3: 16

6. Gentle, Supportive Hands
At times in our lives when we need most support; those times when we struggle through life, bowed with burdens, desperately needing rest, or the days we plough on in our strength, straying far from the nurturing hands of God, it is then that we can surrender ourselves to him, knowing he will scoop us up in his arms and rescue us, if we come to him.

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” Isaiah 40:11 

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28-29

7. Gods Hand is with us
Throughout time, amidst the minutes, hours, days and years of our lives, God is with us. His name is Immanuel, which means simply “God with us”, so it is that we can rely on him, each day and when all else fails. When we do not know what is next, we can safely hold on to God, our hand firmly in his trusting he will safely lead the way.

“The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord.” Acts 11: 21

8. Submitting to God’s Hands

My Time is in Your Hands

Yet if we are to trust our time into God’s hands then we must bend and yield to him, submitting to his way. Humility is not a very fashionable word, but it is what we asked to do, as Christians.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
1 Peter 5: 6-7

We are asked to yield to him, not to be squashed and flattened under his mighty hand but to creep under it, so that under his hand we may each find protection and safety.

In these dark and unpredictable times, may we each learn to draw close to God and truly be able to say these words…

“But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God. My times are in your hands...” Psalm 31: 14-15a

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