My times are in your hand… (Psalm 31:15)

These are words of faith. There will come a moment in life when all signs of God’s providence are stripped away, when, due to events, circumstances, loneliness, or our mood, we feel forgotten and abandoned by God. We are not, but it may seem as if we are at some point in life. That is the moment that faith is essential – to simply rest in the reality of God.

This passage comes from the Old Testament Hebrew, and the word translated “times” may also be translated “seasons.” This word captures life with all of its ups and downs, its seasons of plenty and need, of sickness and health, of joy and sorrow, of success and failure. All of these times and seasons are in God’s hands, even those that are less pleasant.

In the Greek of the New Testament, there are the two words kronos and kairos, both of which are translated “time” but mean different things. Kronos means the steady passing of hours, days, and years. Kairos, however, means the opportune moment, the time written of by Shakespeare in Julius Caesar: 

There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat.

These profound words, moving that they are, reveal the thinking of man, not the thinking of God. From God’s perspective we find that all of our times are in His hands, not just the days of opportunity. And even if the “voyage” seems missed from an earthly perspective, the Lord is still with us. It is, in fact, a secret of a joyous life in Christ to see His hand at work in circumstances that may place us in a disadvantage in human eyes, but in an opportune place in God’s eyes.

Remember, for Joseph slavery and imprisonment were pathways to greatness, “the saving of many lives.” For Stephen his stoning became the opportunity for witness to a young Pharisee named Saul. For Paul and Silas, beatings and stocks led them to see a prison guard converted. And for Christ, and for all of us, His cross because the instrument of intercession for our sins.

All the seasons of life are in God’s hands. Upon this truth, David could pray, “Save me for thy mercy’s sake” (Psalm 31:16). The mercy of God exists for a reason, and for its existence’s sake, we are well within proper bounds to ask for God’s mercy to be directed toward us. See your life and your times and your circumstances within the hands of God – pray that way to Him, for God answers prayer – and see that those hands are merciful hands, full of grace and undeserved kindnesses toward those who believe.

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