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Don't stress, set your clock on God's time

The youngest moaned, “How much longer? We’ve been driving forever!”

“The trip takes 17 hours. We’ve been on the road five.” Her oldest sister used her patient voice, but she rolled her eyes.

The third sister chimed in, encouraging. “Hey! In two more hours, we will gain an hour.” She paused. “Or lose an hour?”

“What does that mean?” Baby sister moaned again. “Will the trip be finished sooner or do we have to be in here longer?”

My daughters in the two rear seats had read their books, played their games, eaten their snacks, and taken naps. They wanted the journey to be over. Time weighed heavy, and I had no magic way of fixing it.

I glanced at Kathy. She looked up from her book. “I thought the trip was going quickly.” I began looking for a roadside park, pondering time.

Twice a year, most people in the United States turn their attention collectively to setting their clocks. Whether we spring forward or fall back, there is a frantic upheaval across the amber waves of grain, purple mountain majesties, and the fruited plains to move our clocks so we remain in sync.

Being on time is an obsession. The die-hard time enthusiast and legendary football coach Vince Lombardi insisted, “If you are five minutes early, you are already ten minutes late.”

I had planned to arrive at Mom and Dad’s in time for dinner, which they eat at 5:30. I calculated we were within my comfort zone but just barely. Hopefully, Alabama would not be under construction this trip.

At the park, we took walks before spreading blankets on the grass to stretch out. Our pup joined in, jumping over the girls and making them laugh. Someone snapped pictures. Before we knew it, an hour passed, taking away the one we would gain (or lose?) in a few miles. We loaded up, refreshed.

The first time the family undertook this same trip from North Carolina, my daughters were much younger. We left in the middle of the night and traveled most of the way before they woke to begin their day. The journey seemed to go faster then.

“How many years have we been doing this now?” I asked. My wife smiled. “Seems like just yesterday, huh?”

Not on this trip, I sighed. It felt like I had been driving for decades.

There are times in our lives when the years run ahead of us lost in the distant mist, and we think we will never catch up. Ironically, time can also stand still and force us to wait.

A career window closes as one yearns to grasp the “brass ring,” a biological clock ticks faster and faster as a bundle of joy remains a twinkle in an eye, and good health wanes while illness shrinks one’s world.

Unpredictable and yet regulated. How is that even possible?

Scripture reminds us in 2 Peter: “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day...” Time, then, is a human construct.

We not only mark time by our watches, calendar pages flip one after another as days turn into months and months into years. The sands of time are fleeting, and there is so much pressure to do things at the right time. Time can seem more foe than friend.

And yet, it is not supposed to be that way. These days, I am journeying through the wisdom books in my personal Bible time, and today I read the familiar line in Ecclesiastes, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” The wisdom, then, is to align my sense of time to the Lord’s teachings about time. I am reminded that it is with His time I need to concern myself, setting my clock by Him.

Meanwhile, the discussion in the back seat resumed. One of the sisters set her watch to Central Time, and the others asked why. She explained that while in Louisiana, she wanted to know the “right” time. Her youngest sister, greatly distressed, spoke up, “Oh no! We don’t have the right time at home?”

Homeword article is written by Jim Edminson, Charity & Children Editor

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