It has been said that men talk of killing time while time quietly kills them.
According to the Bible, we live our lives for a certain period of time – not a moment longer and not a moment shorter. All of the health-food solutions are not going to extend your life beyond what God has determined. You can eat free-range chicken and organic vegetables and tofu every day of your life if you want to. You can use all of the lotions and potions and special vitamins on the market today, but you will not live one day longer than God wants you to live. Nor will you live one day shorter. He has an appointed time for each of us.
Solomon wrote, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot” (Ecclesiastes 3:1–2).
And Job said, “My life passes more swiftly than a runner. It flees away without a glimpse of happiness. It disappears like a swift papyrus boat, like an eagle swooping down on its prey” (Job 9:25–26 NLT).
The problem is that we spend a lot of our lives doing things we would rather not be doing. We have control over some of these things, but not all of them.
Someone compiled these statistics about the amount of time the average American will spend doing certain things over the course of a lifetime: six months sitting at traffic lights, waiting for them to change; one year searching through desk clutter for misplaced objects; and eight months opening junk mail.
The average American also will spend two years trying to call people who aren’t in or whose line is busy, five years waiting in lines and three years in meetings.
But here is something we have some control over. The average American will watch 1,700 hours of television every year.
C. S. Lewis said, “The future is something which everyone reaches at the rate of 60 minutes an hour, whatever he does, whoever he is.”
We live by time.
But God is outside of time. I am not implying that God is not aware of time, because he is completely aware of every minute and second of our lives and everything that is happening in them. But God lives in the eternal realm. His interpretation of time is quite different than ours. He has his own timing.
Of course, there are times in life when it appears to us as though God is late, that God is somehow disengaged, that God is not paying attention.
Going back to what Solomon had to say in Ecclesiastes, there were two important words he used in Ecclesiastes 3:1: “season” and “time.” The word “season” originates from a Hebrew term that refers to a fixed, definite portion of time. And the Hebrew word for time that Solomon refers to is a beginning or a starting period.
Putting it all together, Solomon was saying that God has appointed everything that comes into our lives for a specific purpose. He knows just when to bring them, and he knows how long they should last.
The things we experience are not random events that float in and out of our lives. Rather, they are specific events that have been chosen by God as timely and purposeful – and that applies to the good things as well as the bad things. It applies to the good times as well as the bad times.
As we get a little bit older, we eventually realize that many of the bad times will, in retrospect, turn out to be good times. Because it is through those so-called bad times that we will learn some of life’s most important lessons.
If I decided how my day would go, I would never write in crisis. I would never get sick or have my tire go flat there or have this unexpected disaster take place over here. I would just write in all the good stuff. I would make sure that everything would go my way, there would be no traffic on the freeways, and that it always would be green lights and blue skies.
But we are not in charge of our own lives. God is. And He will let bad things, so-called, happen. But as time goes by, you will find the important lessons you have learned in life did not come from the good times. They came from those times of crisis when perhaps you were more dependent on God.
When you put your faith in Jesus Christ, you come under His protective care. It means that God is fully aware of everything that happens to you. And thankfully, God is never asleep on the job. He is always paying careful attention to the smallest detail of your life and is in complete in control of all circumstances that surround it.
As Solomon observed, there is a season for everything. We are not victims of the fickle finger of fate or dumb luck. If you are a Christian, then you have come into God’s providence, which means that he will guide and direct your steps. It means that your times are in his hands.