Psalm 31:15, “My times are in your hand…”
Not many conversations these days, even very brief ones, fail to contain a reference to the times in which we are living. The pandemic is touching every aspect of our lives. “Strange times,” “unbelievable times,” “uncertain times,” etc., etc.… are expressions we hear and use almost every day. When I read the above passage from the Psalmist a few days ago I reminded myself of a fundamental truth that helps me during these days: “My times,” including these most unusual times, are under God’s knowledge and control. The preceding verse (31:14) says, “but as for me, I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘you are my God.’” These pandemic times are in the hands of an almighty, all-knowing, everywhere-present, and eternal God. He knows all about me and all the circumstances I face. He witnesses every decision I am making and is privy to the innermost thoughts and intents of my heart. His knowledge of you is the same.
Our times are calling for innovative ways in which disciples of Jesus meet to remember their Lord. How strange these times when we meet on the parking lot and worship! How unusual when my wife and I sit at my desk ,watch and listen to the computer monitor, and partake of the bread and the cup in unison with others! We assume that our situation will get better, and hopefully, very soon. Suppose our situation were to worsen?
Perhaps our present distress is giving us an opportunity to develop a new depth of understanding of the amazing God we serve. Surely, these times will at the least cause us to reflect on fundamental things we know and can know about Him. May I remind you that:
God Knows. In a time of confusion, and emotional and physical suffering, Job was glad to proclaim: “He knows the way that I take…” Have you ever talked to someone you trusted, perhaps a family member or dear friend, not because there was anything they could do to help, but because it helped you to know that they would know your distress? If this is true of human beings, how much more the God of the universe! To know that someone you love knows and loves you gives one comfort and hope. There is a relationship between God and mercy and our hope-Psalm 33:20-22- “Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him because we have trusted in His holy name. Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us, just as we hope in You.” During these times, God knows what we are facing. He knows and He is merciful.
God Loves Us. What are our present needs? Food, income, some assurance that the vaccine will soon be available, that our children and our children’s children can be educated…the list could go on and on. Who better to talk to than the One who made us and knows us better than we know ourselves? God through the prophet Jeremiah (31:3) said to the future remnant of Israel: “…I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” We do well in these times to reflect every day upon such love that He would give His son for us. Based upon that sacrifice, the apostle Paul reasons: “He who did not spare His own son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” The apostle asks: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall separate us form the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:32, 35, 37-39). I believe this comprehensive list includes every facet of our present distress-the virus, civil unrest, concerns about our government, and the economy. The phrases of Paul’s inspired list cover every situation we have before us or will ever have. These times are in the hands of God. He knows and loves us.
God will do what is best. His sovereign will is to be accomplished to His ultimate glory. Our destiny for this life and for the life to come is inextricably joined through Jesus Christ to that ultimate glory. Our responsibility-our joyful privilege- is to remind ourselves of our union with Him and live a life of trust and obedience. Make no mistake. These times are in His hands.
Thomas O. Chisolm’s composition “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” verse 3, reminds us of these important truths which we may include in our prayers:
“Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!
Great is thy faithfulness! Great is thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning, new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!”