Posts Tagged ‘difficulties’

My Times Are in Your Hand

November 7th, 2018

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.

Psalms , , ,

My Tears in a Bottle

October 12th, 2017

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. (Psalm 56:8 NLT)

Are our sorrows forgotten by God? Are our challenges, difficulties, and sadnesses recorded? In sorrow and pain we often feel quite alone, but are we truly alone?

This verse should resolve those questions for our hearts. God keeps account of them. The word translated “sorrows” above, could be understood to mean purposeless roamings, or even to tossing and turning in bed. Often these things seem purposeless, mere reactions out of the pressures we are under.

As a psalm of David we can imagine him referring to the years he was hiding out from the wrath of King Saul – running here or there to random places. Are these places remembered by God? Did they have His blessings when they were used? My wife and I as missionaries, over more than forty years of marriage, have lived in more than thirty places, but each one was a home for the time we were there. Each had God’s blessing.

What makes life truly memorable is not the ease and comfort of our circumstances, nor the public attention we may have gathered for a brief period. It is the fact that God was with us as followers of Christ. He brings purpose, dignity, and meaning. He collects our tears, and records each day. And let us always keep before us the reality of His mercy, that He forgives all our sins and heals us as well.

One of the difficulties of growing older is the loss of shared memories. When those friends and family members with whom we lived, worked, and endured or celebrated life pass away, part of us dies as well, for we lose those with whom we lived our lives, those who know our histories.

Yet no memory is truly lost to God. He still recalls them all, and can warm our hearts through all of our lives. He turns our seemingly meaningless roamings into holy pilgrimages, where at each leg of the journey we have learned something about life, about ourselves, and especially about Him.

Daily Devotions, Dealing with Difficulties , , ,