In late September of 2010, just a few days shy of turning 90, my father-in-law a suffered a massive stroke. Several days later, Papaw, as we all called him, went home to be with the Lord. Mamaw, his wife of 70 years, took off Papaw’s gold Timex and gave it to my husband. For the past six years, Papaw’s watch has been displayed in a shadow box at our house. To this very day, it keeps perfect time.
Periodically, I walk over to the watch to check on it, and, as of about an hour ago, it was still keeping perfect time. Every single time I look at the watch, I’m reminded of one truth: Time keeps ticking. The world keeps spinning. No matter who I’ve lost over the years - Papaw, my own precious father, family members, friends, and even pets – it always feels as if time stops. Yet in reality, It keeps moving. It moves in my grief, my sorrow, my happiness, my accomplishments, my trials, and even in my darkest moments.
The Bible does talk about an instance where God actually stopped time.
“Then Joshua spoke to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the sons of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, ‘O sun, stand still at Gibeon, And O moon in the valley of Aijalon.’ So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies. Is it not written in the book of Jashar? And the sun stopped in the middle of the sky and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day. There was no day like that before it or after it, when the LORD listened to the voice of a man; for the LORD fought for Israel.…” Joshua 10: 12-14
THREE KEY POINTS
First, I need to keep my circumstances in perspective. We live in a self-absorbed society where we think life revolves around us and our needs. God sees the bigger picture. He sees all our circumstances, the outcome, and our future. As I read Joshua 10, I see that stopping time for the Israelites to defeat their enemy is much more critical than me thinking the world should stop because I’m feeling a certain way, facing a circumstance, or so I can meet a deadline.
Secondly, God does intervene for us. It may not be in a visibly miraculous way such as parting a sea, stopping time, or raising the dead. He may not have closed the mouth of the lions for us or rescued us from a fiery furnace, but He intervenes for us in ways we will never be aware of. Psalm 34:7 states, “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them.”
Finally, God hears all our prayers and responds in a way He sees fit. I love the line in Joshua 10:14 where it says the Lord listened to the voice of man. Encouraged by that phrase, I looked it up in several different translations:
…the Lord listened to a human being (NIV)
…the Lord answered such a prayer (NLT)
…the Lord obeyed man (NET)
…God took orders from a human (MSG)
I am amazed and humbled that God listens to me and will even grant my request if He sees fit. In order for that to happen, I must have a relationship with Him and talk to Him faithfully.
“TO YOU, MY FUTURE IS A MEMORY”
Casting Crowns had a song out several years ago that had a line that said, “To You my future is a memory.” The clock is so important to us and we seem to race against it, worry about it, and want more hours in the day, but the God of the heavens, the earth, and you and me is also the God of time. Today, as we rush through our day, let us remember that God is in control of all things and unless the Lord returns or calls us home, time will keep on ticking in spite of our circumstances. I can think of a number of wonderful ways we can spend our time today. Enjoy your family, kiss your spouse, call your parents, invite someone to lunch, forgive someone, spread the message of Jesus. Remember, the words of Galatians 6:9: “So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”