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Friday, September 21, 2012

Laying Aside Weights – To Everything A Time, Part 1: Chronophobia


Other posts in this series.

Psalms 89:48  What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah.

1 Corinthians 15:26  The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.

Unless the Lord comes first, every one of us will eventually die.  Death is a great enemy of the human race, and it is the last enemy that will be destroyed.  Revelation 20:14  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  Even our Lord Jesus was effected by death in this life.  When He saw the grief of those who were mourning Lazarus it says, Jesus wept.  John 11:35

Chronophobia is the fear of the passing of time.  It often stems from a fear of death and acute awareness of the passing of time.  This is often related to the fact that there’s a limited amount of time and then life is over.  For me I think it came from constant reminders that we need to “redeem the time” coupled with a strong tendency toward scrupulosity [disclaimer on some content in this link] and toward general anxiety.  Aging along with the thought that my parents’ lives are nearing their end have been a significant issues to me in recent years.  Thankfully, the Lord gave me a husband who mostly views life as a journey towards heaven, so to him each day, each week, month or year, each meal is just “one less” to go till we get to heaven. :-)

Redeeming the Time

Ephesians 5:15-16  See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

Redeeming the time is important and good, but we can allow it to become a burden too heavy to bear.  For example, sometimes mothers don’t value their time with the children like they should.  Perhaps they “wake up” to this at some point, or perhaps other mothers observe this.  Then these mothers go overboard with it and become obsessed with treasuring every little moment.  Children are a gift, but we can wear ourselves out making sure we fully value every second we have with them.  There has to be moderation or we will drive ourselves crazy.

How can we have a restful, trustful and yet appreciative view of the passing of time?  There has to be a balance.  Time is precious, but in God’s final plan, it is unnecessary!  Revelation 10:5-7  And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets.  We never read that Jesus “made haste”.  He was never in a hurry.  I think the key to value time properly is walking daily in God’s will.  If we would walk an unhurried life yet redeeming the time also, we need to walk in God’s time frame – each for our own lives.

He That Believeth

He that believeth shall not make haste
In useless hurry his strength to waste;
Who walks with God can afford to wait,
For he can never arrive too late.

He that believeth shall not delay;
Who carries the word of the King on its' way
Keeps pace with Jehovah's marching tune,
And he can never come too soon.

He that believeth shall walk serene,
With ordered steppings and leisured mien,
He dwells in the midst of eternities,
And the timeless ages of God are his.

Annie Johnson Flint

Isaiah 28:16  ...he that believeth shall not make haste.

Psalm 37:23 The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.

The Lord has shown me more than once that my times really are in His hand. Psalms 31:14-15 But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand…  There have been times when I didn’t get something done when I thought it “should have been” done, or when we didn’t “get going” when I thought we should have.  Once a “very late” gift to a friend “happened” to arrive on a very difficult day when she needed it much more than she did on her birthday.  More than once when we were “running late” we’ve gone by the scene of a recent accident.  Had we been “on time” we might have been involved.  These  are reminders that, though time is “running out” our heavenly Father is still in control of it – even when we feel “off schedule”!  (By the way, don’t allow yourself to be in bondage to keeping a schedule. Schedules can be useful tools when used wisely, but I know that sometimes we can get totally stressed out when things don’t happen when they were “supposed to”.)

“Keeping Up”

One complication we have to deal with is the pace at which life is lived now.  It’s a known fact that this is causing stress, anxiety and even depression.  We get too much information, there’s too much to “miss out on”, there’s too much information required from us, and it’s a constant strain to “keep up” with the new and “important” things.  As much as is possible, I think we need to lay aside the bustle and hassle of modern life’s demands.  We need to let go of the driving urge to “keep up” with everything that’s going. 

Slowing life down several notches will have a positive effect in giving us more time for the things that really matter.  Less time keeping up with Facebook means more time to read to the kids.  Simpler meals means more time to take a walk with your spouse or a friend.  Less time watching T.V. means more time to read (especially the Bible), pray, call someone who is hurting, make something with the kids, etc.  I had one friend whose family decided to get rid of the their television.  She said she literally watched 5 hours of T.V. a day.  She sat down at 5 pm after they’d had dinner, and watched till 10 pm when she went to bed.  Awhile after they had gotten rid of the television she found her life so full of other more important things that she couldn’t imagine how she’d had time to spend that much time watching T.V. each day!  What about you?

Constant straining forward to some future event also keeps us from using today or right now properly.  I know this from having been single till I was 38 years old.  I regret the time wasted fretting and pressing toward the time when I would be married.  How much more I could’ve done and enjoyed!  How much less I could have worried about the passing of time!  I’m inclined to say that half the battle in redeeming the time is in not worrying so much over every passing moment – not trying to cram every single minute as full as possible.  That may sound counterintuitive, but there is something to it.  For one thing, we wouldn’t become so weary in well doing (2 Thess. 3:13).

Let It Go

Hebrews 2:14-15  Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

The bondage of the fear of death will keep us weighed down no matter how it comes out.  But, whatever the reason for it, the fear of the passing of time is a weight we need to lay aside.  Whether it causes constant fretting, overachieving or immobilization, it is not helpful.  When we are running against time it is hard to run patiently the race set before us.  We should be running for the glory of God.  Beating ourselves up constantly over every little “wasted” minute is counter-productive.  We need to stop watching the clock and just run.  We need to keep our eyes on Jesus instead of the finish line on this earth.  Philippians 3:14  I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  We need to let God do His job of ordering our steps and keeping our time.  We need to let Him direct us according to His good purpose.

Ecclesiastes 3:1  To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

Do you need help ordering your days?  Ask the Lord about all of it.  “Lord, what should I do today?  What should I do next?”  He won’t lead you astray.  Proverbs 3:5-8  Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.

Matthew 6:33-34  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

John 6:51  I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever…


Laying Aside Weights – To Everything A Time, Part 2: The (not so) Good Old Days

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