Grains of sand flowing from one orb to the other. Lines in a row. Receding snow.
Time is an elusive reality beyond our control. An unfolding revelation.
In it we try to envision how the next phase will follow, but this rarely becomes clear until we’re there and then it starts all over again. We engage people and events, and eventually recognize certain key moments which create both small and monumental changes in the long process of spiritual transformation. We encounter our strengths and skills, limitations and willingness to yield to temptations, and we exchange an old self for one made new in Christ.
Time and again we need more of it to see and fully understand his movement in our lives; for the grainy picture of our story to fall into place.
Moving forward through experiences of his divine foresight, we ward off fatalistic thinking with intrigued wonder at the minute details of God’s involvement in our days to see the likeness of his Son formed in us, even when we may feel alone, sand-eyed with sleepless nights when weeks turn into weeks of counting sheep, row on row of concerns.
Will we stop to watch for the presence of the Spirit through it all and slowly learn to let the hours flow with ease through every breath we take, alive in him who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, meeting every need?
Through thick rites of passage while leading his people, and difficult knocks which mock and betray us, the clock of his sacrificial love never fails to keep watch. No matter what we’re going through, he sticks with us to the end, he walks with us to the end.
He’s a brick, a rock. In flickering hope. In floundering flocks.
Psalm 139 tells us that even as we were being formed in our mother’s womb, God watched as grains of sand in human life shaped fragile containers through which his love might flow. You … and me. Transparent as glass to him, he knows when we sit and when we rise, the paths where we go, the words which we cry. And he knew each day ordained for us before one of them came to be, a unique timepiece in his unfolding story of grace reset to the Greenwich of his great love by faith.
We are held secure as the earth spins on its axis, as the constellations find their place in the night sky, as daylight bursts across the morning dawn … for we are held in the hands of the Father and Son. As sun, moon, and planets follow their orbits, our bit of time on this earth is sketched in the heavens keeping time to a song for all ages, ‘You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.’ (Psalm 16:11)
He made an appointment to ring an alarm of momentous grace at the centerpoint of history and invites us to set the watches of our call to servant leadership by him: to hear what he hears, to see what he sees, to feel what he feels, to live what he lives moment by moment, until we come to say like Paul that ‘to live is Christ and to die is gain’ … and to set our hearts by it.
Before all time began, before the stars were set in motion, before the sun and moon spanned the sky as signs to mark the calendar with Love crucified, the Great I AM, who was, and is, and is to come, sent out a timely Word of promise across the centuries.
‘I will never leave you.’
Fence posts marking our future years will come to an end. Snowy hair will recede and a new generation take our place. Grains of gritty sand will wash out to sea until, as thick silt, they build themselves a resting place and don’t return. Time and eternity.
Regardless if time passes slowly or fast while we wait for him to move his hand in that challenging thing we endure until we see him face to face, we trust his perfect timing as the One who sees the beginning from the end. When our hearts are set to both receive and tell the time of his love in and out of season, a quiet yet active waiting as the years tick by talk about hope and mark the steady pace of grace at work in us.
A moment is all it takes for us to slip from trying to hold on ourselves into a deeper knowledge of his suffering love and go with its flow.
Has the hour come when he wants to show us something through a glass less dimly? Is it time to let go and fall in time with his loving control?
‘Lord, we would sometimes like to either slow down or speed up the passing of our days. We may be caught in drips of one problem after another, dropped in a season of pain and confusion. We may be quick to assume that the timing’s all wrong, hawk-like to judge and presume we know best. But we don’t. Quiet our racing hearts when things are happening at an uncomfortable pace.
And for the one who is clocked into a season when too many moments announce the shadow of more challenges, pronounce a timely blessing over them declaring the generous falling of your favour to grow in grace, held in your timeless love, our precious Rock of Ages. Amen.’