Existing in the three dimensions of past, present, and future, time is the irresistible force propelling us through life. Time never has to breathe, to regroup, to re-aim, or to rest. When we stop for those things, time leaves us behind.
Time management is a life skill that some of us master and others do not. In many ways the thought that we can harness time and make it do our bidding is a grand illusion. We are at the mercy of time and it has no mercy.
What we can do is respond to time in productive ways.
- We can deal with the pains and pleasures of the past by learning from them.
- We can deal with the present moment by determined obedience.
- We can deal with the fear of the future by washing the mind with the truth of scripture.
While the future is a clouded dream and the present moment is only a vapor, the past hovers over us like a storm cloud heavy with rain. We must deal with the past. Constant rumination over the good memories seems to improve them so that no current event can ever match them. Relentless recall of the pain of the past does nothing to heal the wounds we gained in those battles; it only keeps them bleeding.
The Grace to Forget
There is a gift from God, a grace that is so amazing. It is the grace to forget those things which are behind and to reach forward to the future God has planned for us. Only the Holy Spirit has these filing skills:
- He can help us put memories in a place where we can access them but not be hindered by them,
- He can empower us to seize the present moment and redeem it for the Kingdom of God, and
- He calls us to and fearlessly prepares us for the future.
No one knows how the Spirit does this. It is a secret safely held within the mind of God. What we can do is cast our cares on Jesus because He cares for us. In a single touch each day, Jesus can heal the past and school us in its lessons, empower us for the day ahead, and prepare us for the future.
How do we cast our cares on Him? We do this in prayer. In communion with the Lord,
- Name your pain.
- Forgive those who have hurt you,
- Seek His forgiveness and renewal
- Thank God for your blessings,
- Confess His promises, and
- Intercede for those in need.
When you are worshiping the Lord, He covers you with His wings—all of you—past, present, and future.
O LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him? Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.
Ephesians 5:15-16 NKJV
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Lord Jesus, I thank You that my life is in Your capable hands. You have graciously forgiven my past. You have called me to this moment—this day—to serve You with all my heart. You have provided for my future both in the days to come and in the eternity that begins at the end of my days. Let these truths infuse me with courage today, the courage it takes to do what You have called me to do. May my awareness of Your complete mastery of time, give me patience when things go wrong and praise when You make them right and peace whatever else may happen today. My life is in Your Hands! Thank You, Jesus! Amen!
Day by Day
Words: Carolina Sandell Berg; Music: Oscar Ahnfelt
1. Day by day and with each passing moment,
Strength I find to meet my trials here;
Trusting in my Father’s wise bestowment,
I’ve no cause for worry or for fear.
He whose heart is kind beyond all measure
Gives unto each day what He deems best—
Lovingly, its part of pain and pleasure,
Mingling toil with peace and rest.
2. Every day the Lord Himself is near me
With a special mercy for each hour;
All my cares He fain would bear, and cheer me.
He whose name is Counselor and Power.
The protection of His child and treasure
Is a charge that on Himself He laid;
“As your days, your strength shall be in measure,”
This the pledge to me He made.
3. Help me then in every tribulation
So to trust Your promises, O Lord,
That I lose not faith’s sweet consolation
Offered me within Your holy Word.
Help me, Lord, when toil and trouble meeting,
E’er to take, as from a father’s hand,
One by one, the days, the moments fleeting,
Till I reach the promised land.
© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved