But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands. Psalm 31:14-15.
Time is a strange thing. We all have the same number of minutes in an hour, hours in a day, and days in a week and yet we fill those minutes and hours and days so differently, so… individually. But even as we plan our days, we cannot begin to know how many of those days we have on this earth. Or how many days this earth itself will remain, for that matter.
Our times are entirely in His hands. This week my oldest grandmother – she was 92 – lived out her final days with us and took her last breath. Toward the end we wondered why God hadn’t yet taken her home, why He allowed her to remain in a weary body when she had come so close to the finish line. I even prayed silently, “God, it’s time. She’s ready, bring her home to you.”
But as I prayed these words I felt foolish, like a child. Who am I, to tell God when it’s time? How can I even begin to understand that concept, relative to God’s sovereign perspective?
If you keep up with the news then you’ll remember that on New Year’s Eve, thousands of birds fell suddenly from the sky in Arkansas. Since then there has been much discussion in the media about an increase in wildlife die-offs, and what it means. I don’t know what to think about it, personally. But as I was waiting for the phone call about Grandma, I spent some time reading the Bible and came to the verse about the sparrows.
“Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. "Indeed , the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6-7.
At the funeral I had a chance to talk with my Uncle David for a while, who lives in Arkansas in the same county as where the birds fell. We talked about how strange it is that no one really knows exactly what happened to those birds. We made a few jokes about it, those awkward kinds of funeral-jokes where we’re half-embarrassed to be laughing about something so trivial.
And yet none of those birds were forgotten before God. He knows exactly why they died, and where each one of those 5,000 birds fell on the streets and yards of Arkansas. And then Jesus says, “Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”
I pray that God will help us all understand how truly valuable we are to Him. I pray also that He will show us how to trust Him and put our times in His hands – from the minutia of our daily routines, to the big picture of how long we live on this earth and what we do while we’re here.
Posted on Sat, January 22, 2011