Wrapping my mind around the concept of time requires an enormous amount of effort. Time is remarkably puzzling. It reveals itself when I look in the mirror. It rusts, deteriorates, yet refines. It drags its feet on a Monday afternoon, yet accelerates on the weekends. There is never enough time to accomplish all that I need or want to do, still time seems to waste moments away. Time is valuable, but no one has enough of it. Free time is a luxury. I can burn time, take a time out, have time on my hands, kill time, and pause my timer while the sun still moves in the sky. Summertime is fleeting while the months of February and March seem endless. Sleepless nights with children tick slowly by while the first eighteen years of their life with me seem but a mist. Over time things rot, yet time heals. Time can have permanence and be temporary. Time gives wisdom and experience in an instant or in lengthy intervals. Time is continuing, constant, yet ever changing. Days stretch and years hurry. Time lives a life of paradox.
And the most baffling fact about time is that it is designed by God who governs it and is not bound by it. He gave time its seasons and made the sun know its time for setting (Psalm 104:19). Everything is governed by His time,
"For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, a time to die, a time to plant, and a time to pluck up with is planted, a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew, a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace." (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)God "has made everything beautiful in its time." (Ecclesiastes 3:11) He accomplished, will accomplish and is accomplishing all that He wants to accomplish in the course of His time, in His perfect timing, at His appointed times. "His ways prosper at all times..." (Psalm 10:1) To Him a thousand years are but a day. His steadfast love and promises will stand firm for all time. For all time He is righteous, perfect, just, and holy, holy, holy. While He is patient with time; I am not. While He orchestrates time and all that will occur within it, I must submit to His plan - for my life (which belongs to Him), my life with my husband, for my children's life (who are really His children), for what I do and when I do it. For all time I am His and He is mine. I trust Him to use my time wisely for His purpose, my good, and His glory. All of which is hard for my finite mind to fully understand.
I wonder over the time God has given to me, especially on the one year anniversary of a loss. The endless joys, comforts, and hardships. The gains. The loss. The growth. Especially the growth. Especially within the last six years, especially within the last year.
In six years time, I've been changed through the reading of God's Word. Changed. Convicted. Comforted. I've learned the power of God's gospel. I've learned what it means to be a disciple of Christ, a godly wife, mother, servant, teacher, and friend. I nearly lost my life to gain a deeper understanding of time - here and in eternity. I learned who I am in Christ. Gained confidence in Him. Learned to let go of the nonessentials to make room for the essentials. I've learned what it means to be an instrument in the Hands of my Savior - to come alongside other women who struggle with anxiety, pride, who lack identity and confidence of who they are in Christ. I've learned the value of my testimony and why God gave me the story He gave me for the sake of His gospel. I've learned the power Christ gave to conquer sin. I've learned what it means to serve, to deny self, and love on others. I've lost friends and gained friends. All the while learning so much about the significance of quality time.
I've learned that thirty three years are short. Very short. But Jesus accomplished more in his short thirty years of life than an eighty year old accomplished in a lifetime, "Now there are many other things that Jesus did. Were very one of them to be written, I suppose the world itself could not contain the books that would be written." John 21:25 That in and of itself confounds me most!
In one years time, I've learned that the loss of a thirty three year old friend gives a whole new perspective on time - how we spend it and what is important. I only knew Erin Aerni for eight short years, but I get to spend an eternity of time, picking up from where we left off, worshiping God in His presence. I learned that to live is gain and to die is gain, if that were not true the faith we shared in Christ is in vain. Her heavenly birthday was a year ago yesterday and as I reflect on the time I spent with her I grow to love her even more.
A good name is better than precious ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth. It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all mankind, and the living will lay it to heart." Funerals give perspective of time and who is in charge of it. Her death did that for me more than any other I've experienced. It was through her life and her death that I became inspired to spend more time on my eulogy than my resume. I hope and pray that the time I spend on this earth inspires others as her life still does today.
Most importantly, when my time comes, when I, like Erin, finally meet Jesus face to face, what will He say to me? Will he say I spent my time well? That I served for His purpose and His glory? That I loved well? That I glorified and honored Him well? That I trusted Him?
With all that in mind, I know how I need to spend my time. I need to call upon the Lord for all time, to trust that He is my stronghold in good times and in bad - that the time I have on this earth is in His hand (Psalm 31:15, Job 12:10 & 14:5, Exodus 23:26, Psalm 139:16). To be a woman who laughs at the time to come, trusting in His sovereignty. To hope in Him from this time forth and forevermore - whether He gives me one hundred years, or just one more year, or even just one month, a final day or one more minute of breath - I will hope in Him for all time.