My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me (NIV).
We are now in the second half of the year 2020. So, here comes a stupid question. Has this year been what you anticipated it would be on New Year’s Day? I don’t think anyone seriously expected a worldwide pandemic and the medical, societal and economic consequences it has spawned. Who ever talked about “social distancing”, “shelter at home”, or the despised phrase “the new normal” prior to 2020? Who ever thought we would be required to wear masks in public places, including banks? I have had to wear a mask into my bank. I would never thought about doing that prior to the pandemic! The bank personnel would have asked me to remove it or to leave. Our times seem to be out of control, and that reality makes us all feel uncomfortable to say the least.
However, my times and your times are not out of control. They are held firmly and directed fully and finally by our Sovereign God. The living God is in absolute control. One of my college history professors used to refer to this verse many times when he prayed to open our classes. That I can recall his prayers nearly fifty years later reveals how much he must have lived by this verse. Reading God’s word and praying it back to him is a commendable practice. My professor modeled that before me in class before I ever heard that concept stated. Our examples ought to influence others (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:4-8).
My times and your times are not out of control. They might look out of control and feel out of control but they are not. We must learn this truth from this verse. My times are in your hands…. Five years ago this month, it was easy for me to feel that my life was out of control. But when I would start to think that way, God showed up through his people to assure my wife and I that our times were in his hands. We received financial help, a cabin to get away to where we could pray and talk, a day trip to the Statue of Liberty with friends, and when my mom died, two friends cut their vacation short to drive with us to go out to be with my dad and to provide other assistance. Others provided words of comfort and assurance that were just as necessary. God was with us, holding everything in his care, to bring us through the crisis that most of 2015 was for us. My times are in your hands….
It is too easy to look at the world during troubled times with eyes of despair, abandonment, and desolation. The psalmist David lived through fear and anguish for years. He had to run for his life as a cruel tyrant (his own father-in-law) pursued him in order to kill him. People he tried to help turned on him. His own men talked of killing him. Enemies killed faithful people because of him. His life was worse than the proverbial train wreck. But he learned through every situation My times are in your hands…. And then he wrote this psalm so that others could sing the same truth.
These words call us to faith and hope in God, and also to love God. Sadly, we can become proficient in talking about trusting God and waiting expectantly for God to work, while we neglect speaking about loving the Sovereign God when everything seems against us. To say, “My times are in your hands,” is an opportunity to express our love to the God who is in charge of our times. Examine your heart. Are you upset, even angry, that God is guiding the troubled world in its current direction? Do you want to tell him… to demand… that he controls all things according to your pleasure. Let us learn to pray again your will be done (Matthew 6:10 NIV, my emphasis).
My times are in your hands….
Grace and peace,