Time; October 31, 2019

Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven.

This is one of the more famous lines in the whole Bible, loved by secularists because it doesn’t directly reference God. However, the Japanese carries an implication of Him, because it says “settled time,” which implies that someone or something settled it. I don’t think philosophical atheism was very common in the ancient world; there were too many mysteries people couldn’t explain, so the supernatural seemed perfectly logical. However, polytheism was rampant, and that’s a trap Solomon, of all people, fell into. Even he failed to recognize that Yahweh was the absolutely unique Creator, and he built shrines to the pagan gods of some of his foreign wives. That said, he did pen these famous lines, down through verse 8, that people have used and misused down through the centuries. People have found comfort in them and they have also used them as excuses to do whatever they wanted, with no regard for God. For the person of faith, the lesson is to ask God what the present time is, not only for the activities mentioned here but for anything at all. We have great difficulty grasping that God, as the Creator, is outside of time, since we, being material, are firmly in the flow of time. Because He is outside of it all, He can plan the exact time for everything, and from our perspective He has already done so. That said, we have the choice of how to respond to His schedule, and that affects everything. The more we trust Him, the more effectiveness and the more peace we will have. What complicates all of this is that the devil is always trying to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10) by manipulating our emotions. Not only does he try to make us rebel against what is happening, or seems to be happening, he also tries to get us to accept things that should not be happening. That applies to such societal evils as slavery and abortion, both of which are rampant today. William Wilberforce recognized God’s timing to combat the slave trade of his day, and we need to recognize His timing in dealing with human trafficking today. That’s why we need to be fully sensitive to the Holy Spirit to hear Him, saying, “Not yet. Not yet. Now!”

I am by nature very time sensitive, hating to be late for anything. I have had to learn that not everyone has been given that personality, so as to be forgiving of those who are perennially late. I have also had to learn not to resent people taking what I consider my time, recognizing that it’s all God’s time in the first place, and I only get to use it. That said, I can chafe at second-by-second schedules, which the Japanese are very good at creating. I appreciate it when it comes to trains being on time, but I laugh when it comes to something like a Christmas program. The important point for me is to recognize that whereas I’m to be a faithful steward, I’m not the one in charge. I am to speak the truth in love and admonish when called for, but God is the time setter and He is the judge, not me.

Father, thank You for this reminder. We have a somewhat time-sensitive day today, driving over an hour each way for a doctor’s appointment for Cathy, and then being here for friends to park their car here and then we take them to the airport. Help me be fully relaxed in it all, flowing with Your Spirit on Your schedule, so that we won’t miss any of the things You have planned for us in this day, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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