It may be the falling, gray hair or the need for eye surgery, but I have found myself in an extended period of reflection, contemplating and meditating about those things which are yet to come. I had fully decided to blog a bit on Psalm 32, for it is easy to remember the past experience of King David and the need for confession, and to experience the forgiveness that he so enjoyed and which is available to me in Christ.
However, I was challenged when I read Psalm 31:15-16, "My times are in your hands." This challenging verse is reinforced with the instructions of the opening verses of chapter 31. Here the psalmist speaks of a prayer for help in time of trouble (v. 1-5); of a positive expression of trusting God (v. 6-8); a lament over past physical sickness or distress (v. 9-13); then a call to trusting God (v. 14-18), which he followed with praise to God for His help in times of trouble.
I soon came to those striking words of Psalm 31:15, "My times are in your hands." I wondered what times he was speaking of. I believe it was from the time of his earliest steps as just a small child when the parents became the hand of God for their child. It was that time when he totally relied upon his parents, for their counsel, guidance and development. To be the extended hand from God is an awesome responsibility for all parents. Proverbs 22:6 reminds us to "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turned from it." It is less about what we say at that stage of life and more by what we live out in front of the child that determines his life path and practices.
Then there comes the time of the youth years when you come to realize that now you are sharing God's hand with others. Youth make their decisions, influenced by those that are good and others that are bad with whom they associate. It's a time when parents must hold tightly to God’s hand and still lightly hold the young person’s hand as they seek to leave home and enter more fully into life around them. So we need to take comfort that God is working out His plan for good for those who love Him.
Then comes the time of our maturity, but we too are in God's hands. In those days when we are about our Father's business, we will experience success as well as defeats. Even in spiritual work, everything does not always go well. Does that mean that God has abandoned us? Not at all! The times of defeat as well as the times of victory are controlled by God. So we remember Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight."
Finally, the times of old age are in God's hands as well, from the developing stage of the youngest child to the strength of youth that now has blossomed into the full age of maturity. We come to that period of time when the strength of youth has faded away and the opportunities for starting new works are now past. But praise God, He still cares for us in our old age and is able to bless those days as much as any others.
Looking back I understand how important it is to be in His hands. I'm reminded that God is present in all ages and circumstances of life. Certainly nothing has come into our life that surprises Him. Nothing can come into your life that has not first of all passed through the filter of His "good, pleasing and perfect will." For in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him. And if I could only learn to be content in whatever circumstance I find myself, I will have learned the true meaning of “My times are in your hands." Praise God for that encouragement.
Posted on Thu, February 10, 2011
by Pastor Larry McCracken