Monday, December 29, 2008

God's Calendar

But do not forget one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

                        2 Peter 3.8

The Days of Our Lives

Years ago, my father underwent heart surgery. During his three-month recovery, he got hooked on “The Days of Our Lives”, a soap opera that opened with an hourglass over which its star, McDonald Carey, intoned, “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.” Sometimes I’d watch it with Dad, who relished telling me all about Salem, a little town plagued by rare diseases and big scandals. My mind occasionally wanders back to those sweet hours together, pausing to listen again to the opening. At the time, I was too young to appreciate the gravity of the words. Now, with Dad in his late seventies and me pushing 50, they’re particularly poignant. Both our hourglasses are bottom-heavy. Every day is one less, not one more, meaning those we have left are truly dear.

Due Time

“The length of our days is seventy years—or eighty, if we have the strength,” Moses says in Psalm 90.10. The period at the end of our sentence informs how we tell time, which totally differs from how God views it. Our calendar marches in regimented time—minutes, days, and years passing underfoot en route to a finite end. God’s infinite calendar flows in due time. It’s incredibly flexible and adjusted to each individual so its dates fall exactly when needed rather than expected. Since God’s time has no measure, it’s impossible to understand and often hard to accept. Watching the clock and counting days are futile when anticipating answers to prayer or divine intervention. After we turn things over to God, telling time becomes an act of faith. We align with His schedule, trusting Him to respond in due time—not a moment sooner or later.

Wait for It

Cries of urgency don’t move God. Habakkuk learns this after asking how long must Israel wait before He reveals His power against her foes. God replies, “The revelation awaits an appointed time... Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” (Habakkuk 2.3) Awareness of our mortality spawns impatience, leading to worry that answers and guidance have been indefinitely postponed. God tells us what we ask of Him will come in due time. It’s already on the books and on the way. Though it linger, wait for it. In his second epistle, Peter counsels us not to forget God’s calendar. A day, a millennium—a year, a second—are one and the same to Him. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness,” he adds. (2 Peter 3.9) Procrastination to us is progress to Him, as every moment draws closer to the solution He’s placed in our future.

This time of year we get a little calendar crazed. We look at the previous 12 months to gauge our achievements and success. In some cases, we’re delighted by how far we’ve come. Others leave us crestfallen—this or that should have happened by now. Always remember our deadlines are artificial, the result of mortality. God’s calendar has no New Year’s Day and annual resolutions bear no relevance on His timing. We place far too much emphasis on dates and too little on faith. What we’ve asked for will certainly come and will not delay.

This means nothing to God, whose calendar flows in due time.

(Tomorrow: Abandoned? Never!)

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