In Genesis 1, it says “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis describes in detail how God has made each piece of creation. At the end of creation, he looks across all of it and says, “. . . it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31). Creation was perfect. Then man sinned and things became corrupted. For the first time, death entered into the world (Genesis 2:17). To the best of my interpretation, prior to eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, Adam thought that he would live forever. Prior to this, man did not have a terminal point. Man now had to contemplate that he would not be here forever. From that point forward, man would have to struggle with the fragileness of life. Death had become one of the few universal human conditions. James 4:14 says, “. . . yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.”
Time is something that I have always struggled with. When I was younger, I wanted to be in the military. Instead, I chose to be a psychologist, because I thought that was where God was leading me. I held on to the idea that, even as a psychologist, I would somehow be in the military. I remember calling home to talk to my dad, because I was in a particularly bad mood one day. I had turned 28 and realized that I could no longer be in any of the “good jobs” in the military. The time for this part of my life had run out. There was no going backward. It was simply no longer an option. Even as crazy as the idea of still going into the military was, simply the idea that it was no longer an option was enough to ruin my day.
There are many other examples of how time affects me. For example, am I spending enough time with my boys, am I getting enough done during the day, am I going to have enough time to take a break, will super be on the table at a reasonable time? There are literally thousands of examples of how limited time affects me. However, if that wasn’t enough, I also look into the future and see problems with time. How long will I have to spend with my parents, will I accomplish what I need to over the next year, when it is all done will my life have amounted to anything?
Thinking about the constraints of time and the massive responsibility to make our lives mean something can really rob us of our peace. So how do we cope with the concept of time?
1 – All that we are given is today.
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
Today is the gift that God gives us. There is enough for us to work towards just today. If we look too far into the future, we rob ourselves of the peace that we could feel today. Psalm 23 says, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” The Lord’s Prayer says, “Give us this day our daily bread.” They are not future oriented. What we need today he will give us, and nothing will be lacking. By being present in this moment, we are able to have meaningful relationships.
2 – God’s plan is perfect.
“The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”
At the end of the day, I know that no matter how much I plan something out, God’s plan will be the one that will be done. I also know that when I listen to his plan, it is good and perfect as reminded in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
3 – Enjoy what you have today instead of what you will lose tomorrow.
“Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”
Much of the joy that we could experience is robbed from us by worrying about tomorrow. Why do we worry about tomorrow? We worry about it, because we think we can control it. The Bible tells us again and again that God is in control. Any control that we think we have is only an illusion. By giving our sense of control to God and accepting his plan, we can find peace.
4 – Death will come to all of us, but we have peace in eternal life.
“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.”
At the end of the day, we will all die. All of us will lose someone that we love. For most of us it will be our parents. For many it will be a spouse, and for others it will be a child. We will all grieve at some point in our life. Many of us grieve this loss before the person is gone. The best thing we can do is be in the moment with that person. Enjoy the time we have with them. The best way we can do this is by understanding that grieving only lasts for a time. We grieve, but we grieve with hope that we will be reunited with them.
These principles and relationship with God are the things that help me move through the time that I have here. I never made it into the military. I did become a psychologist and was happy while doing this. Then one day God said it was time to do something else, and now I am working at Sanctuary Family Farms. My life has been a journey with some unexpected sharp turns. The one constant through all of this is that God will never and has never left me and that his plan is perfect. When I fall back on this I am at peace.
“Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
— Written by Jeremiah
The picture is of Pa dedicating Jeremiah’s oldest.