A quote was attributed to Benjamin Franklin about time. I first came across this quote in the old movie, “Gone With The Wind” and it has stayed with me. The full quote goes like this:
“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”
I’ve been thinking about time a lot in recent days, and this quote came to mind. Indeed, isn’t life all about time? The sum of our lives is really the sum of our minutes and seconds. What we do, how we spend our time, what happens to us etc. The sum of all these experiences on a daily basis determines whether or not we are happy or sad at the end of the day. And the sum of our days add up to a week, a month, a year and so on. Before we know it, years have passed. It is those experiences that we recall later and we conclude that we have had a good time or a bad time.
The Bible has two verses that easily come to mind when we talk about time and our lives and the impact of one on the other. Consider, first of all, the popular one, found in Psalm 90, verse 12, which says “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” NLT. The second verse is found in Psalm 139 verse 16, which says “You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.”
These verses encourage us to spend our time wisely, knowing that our time is limited. At the same time, there is some reassurance and comfort that God has planned out our lives, and taken note of every second in His book. The interesting thing about time, is that once it is spent, it cannot be retrieved. Only God can redeem wasted time or time spent wrongly. Out of His love and mercy, He redeems time for us when we have misused the time He has given us. How awesome that can be!
So, as the lock down eases out, I’ve been thinking about how a lot of time in this year has been ‘spent’on the Covid-19 pandemic. Weeks and weeks of quarantine, curfews, lockdown, and fear of going out has resulted in a lot of time unaccounted for. Unaccounted for, in the sense that I can’t point to any tabgible thing done with the time. In the early days of the quarantine and lockdown, a lot of time was spent eating and sleeping, lazying around and trying to get over the fear of the virus. That lasted at least a month to six weeks! We are in the sixth month of the pandemic here, because the first case was reported in late February. Six whole months have passed! We are now in the third quarter of the year. It is a good time to think about time.
I want to look at this positively. While I may have spent six months doing nothing, I look back now and discover that a lot happened internally. While things were at a standstill on the outside of me, in my mind, a lot has been going on. I can recall the fear, which was a major battle in my mind; the discovery that my strength was small and I needed to build up on my faith and spiritual capacity; the actual engagement in prayers and study of the word, and confronting my weaknesses. All that went on, and so much more. I also realized the power of God to bring the whole world to a standstill! When He said He would shake the heavens and the earth, He meant it! This is a major shaking indeed!
Time has been very important this year. But it is not time squandered. It is time utilized to showcase the power of God, the helplessness of man and the need for man to acknowledge that there is an all-powerful God, who continues to be the Master of the Universe. Awesome!
So, I can console myself with the fact that my time has not been wasted this year. I am wiser, more mature and more in awe of God than I have been previously. It is a good place to be. This is a summary of the last six months. The terrain was hard and difficult. There seemed to be no hope and no light at the end of the tunnel. But God saw us through and He is making a way for us to pass through the wilderness. The forty years spent in the wilderness will be as nothing, when we come into the promised land. Amen.
Keep your hope up. We are coming out of this stronger than ever!