What flies by so fast it cannot be caught
More precious than gold yet cannot be bought
To be on it great, to be out of it sad
When we need it there’s never enough to be had
We measure it, mark it, and to it we bide
I wish it’s affect on my face I could hide?
The answer: Time
One question I get asked often these days is “what do you do with your time?”
I think it is because it can be difficult for others to understand what my life looks like now that I am not able to work outside the home and my children are no longer here for me to take care of. I can understand why they ask; those two activities occupy a majority of my friend’s lives and it can be hard to imagine how to handle the hours in a day without them.
I try to explain what life is like with chronic illness and pain to those who don’t understand. How my mornings are spent actually recovering from a restless night of fighting pain in order to get some sleep. It is hard to explain that the sleep I do get does not restore me like it should. How it takes time just to get my body to move and have enough energy to get out of bed. How once I get up the gravity seems much thicker than it used to and it takes labored movement to simply go to the kitchen to take the pills and eat the food I must have to help my body function and hopefully heal.
I will often try to get them to remember when they had experienced the aches of the flu or the fatigue that followed not being able to sleep for a few straight days in a row. Then try to imagine how they would function if those feelings didn’t go away.
Truth is unless they experience it themselves, they can’t fully know what it is like. I pray they never will.
There is some good news I can give them; although I have the physical discomfort, I have received something now I used to long to have.
This time of illness has given me something very precious; more freedom in the use of my time.
A new question has come with that realization. This one comes from my Father, God; asking me how well I am using that freedom. My heart has heard the call to evaluate my time and make sure I am using it well, the way He would want me to.
So I began the search with this question:
How does God use time?
I start in the book of Genesis and see that with three words God created time and though out scripture has shown me how He uses it.
First I see that God used time to create; he created days as evening became morning. Within those days he created the rest of our world including us.
God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning–the first day.
Am I using my time to be creative?
Then I see that He used time to rest; it is significant that our all powerful God, who does not slumber or sleep, used a whole day to rest.Some days it can feel like rest is all I am doing; rest is what my body requires in this season. I have come to realize, however that even though I think I am resting, my mind is not always occupied with restful thoughts.
How do I use my time to rest well?
I also learn in scripture that God used time to set limits.
In the book of Ecclesiastes, chapter 3 spells out the truth that all parts of our lives will have limits and that there is beauty in those limits. I found it so encouraging to know that winter won’t last forever; it has been limited! Likewise, my season of illness and pain will not last forever either.
Do I also set limits to the activites of my day?
God showed me how He uses time to bring about His plan.
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-7
God has set specific times for His plan to unfold. They are never early or late; He knows exactly when the perfect time comes for His plan to be fulfilled . I must admit I don’t fully understand that part of God. Why did He let the Israelite people stay in Egypt for 400 years before He rescued them? Why did He wait thousands of years after Adam sinned before He sent His Son to this earth to rescue us? I must remind myself that, being the loving, good Father He is, His reason was perfect.
Do I set and keep a specific time for the most important activities?
Lastly, I see that God uses time to build trust.
He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. Acts 1:7
Because I can’t know the exact times God has set I must trust in His character and love as I wait. The fact is no one can see the future clearly. We are given only veiled ideas of what will occur through the Bible and sometimes through His prophetic people. Even what is given is often in parables that require trust and reliance on Him for understanding and purpose. He asks us to trust His timing by waiting well with endurance and hope.
Do I use my time to build trust in Him and His timing?
One thing I can know for sure is that God never wasted time and doesn’t want me to either.
Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16
I believe that, to make sure time is not wasted, these questions are important for all of us to ask ourselves. I am choosing to ask and then answer them because of a new God-given longing to use my time wisely, like He does. I hope to make the most of my days for they can so easily be filled with evil. With wise choices in time management I will be ready for all God will bring into my life in this season and the next.
Perhaps by learning to use my time well now, I will then be ready when God causes time to have its end.
And he swore by Him who lives to the eternity of eternities, Him who created Heaven and that which is in it, and The Earth, and that which is in it: “Time shall be no more.” Revelation 10:6