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Your Times are in God’s Hand

May 19, 2020 • Life for Leaders

Scripture: Psalm 31:14-17 (NRSV)

But I trust in you, O LORD;
+++I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hand;
+++deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors.
Let your face shine upon your servant;
+++save me in your steadfast love.

Focus

When, inspired by Psalm 31, we pray, “My times are in your hand,” we are acknowledging that our lives belong fully and finally to God. God can rightfully determine what we ought to do with the time he has entrusted to us. We receive each day as gift from the Lord, an occasion to serve him and to serve others in his name through all we do.

Devotion

Have you ever thought about the phrase “time management”? Though it’s used consistently by business gurus and self-help books, and though it’s something in which many of us aspire to be excellent, “time management” is actually a silly phrase. Which of us, after all, can actually manage time?

Yes, we do have some freedom to control what we do with the time given to us. I can decide to work on this Life for Leaders devotion or, instead, to vacuum the house (which I will be doing after I finish this devotion, actually). But I can’t make time speed up or slow down. And to my consternation I can’t control much of what happens during the time of my earthly existence.

Oh, I can sometimes pretend as if I’m the boss of my time. But then something comes along to jar my consciousness—something like a pandemic, for example. All of a sudden what I had been expecting to do with my time is turned upside down. And, in spite of how much I read about the coronavirus and its implications, I really don’t know what’s coming next . . . and neither do you.

Thus, “in these uncertain times,” I find the words of Psalm 31 profoundly true, profoundly relevant, and profoundly freeing. In verse 5, the psalm writer says to the Lord, “My times are in your hand.” “Times” in this context means “the things that happen in my life” or even “my existence on earth.” The psalmist is currently in the “hand” of his “enemies and persecutors.” Thus, his very life is threatened. His “times” could soon be over. Yet, this threatening situation reminds the psalm writer that, in reality, all of his times belong to God. God gave him life. God sustains his life. God determines the span of his life. And, in the end, God will be the source of his eternal life.

When, inspired by Psalm 31, we pray, “My times are in your hand,” we are acknowledging that our lives belong fully and finally to God. God can rightfully determine what we ought to do with the time he has entrusted to us. We receive each day as gift from the Lord, an occasion to serve him and to serve others in his name through all we do.

As many Life for Leaders readers know, a few years ago I almost died from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. By God’s grace given through the wisdom of a wonderful doctor, the wonders of doxycycline, and the healing power of the Spirit, I recovered completely. But I’m not the same as I was before I contracted that disease. I don’t think of my life in quite the same way. I feel more deeply than I once did the truth that my times are in God’s hands. My life isn’t really mine. It belongs to my Lord, who redeemed me through Christ and saved me from deadly peril.

Now, I can easily return to thinking about my life as my possession, my “times” as something I get to control. But Psalm 31 reminds me of the truth. I exist by God’s grace and for God’s pleasure. I live “for the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:12). And so do you. Your times are in God’s gracious hand. Your life belongs to him.

Reflect

Would you be able to say to the Lord, truly, “My times are in your hand”? What would this mean to you?

Do you think of your whole life as something that belongs to the Lord? Or do you think of your life as partly your own and partly God’s to direct?

How might the truth that your times are in God’s hand be freeing for you?

Act

Think of something tangible you could do to remind yourself during the day that your times are in God’s hand. (For example, I just created a reminder in my phone that will tell me at a certain time each day: Your times are in God’s hand.)

Pray

Gracious God, thank you for the gift of life. Thank you for the “times” you have given to me. Yet, as I receive this gift with gladness, I also remember that, really, my times still belong to you. My life is yours. I belong to you through Jesus Christ.

Help me to live each day, Lord, with the duty and freedom of knowing that I am yours. My time is yours. My life is yours. My work is yours. All that I am is yours. May I live today, and each day, for the praise of your glory. Amen.


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Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Father, I Entrust My Spirit into Your Hands


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4 thoughts on “Your Times are in God’s Hand

  1. Jonathan Russell says:

    Mark, Thanks for the good Word this morning. I could not read this devotional without thinking about my mother and the song, “My Times Are in Thy Hand” by W.F. Lloyd.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5pmnkJn2Kg&list=RDG5pmnkJn2Kg&start_radio=1&t=28

    “My Times Are in Thy Hand”
    W.F. Lloyd

    My times are in thy hand;
    my God, I wish them there;
    my life, my friends, my soul, I leave
    entirely to thy care.

    My times are in thy hand,
    whatever they may be;
    pleasing or painful, dark or bright,
    as best may seem to thee.

    My times are in thy hand;
    why should I doubt or fear?
    My Father’s hand will never cause
    his child a needless tear.

    My times are in thy hand,
    Jesus the Crucified;
    those hands my cruel sins had pierced
    are now my guard and guide.

  2. Anne Huffman says:

    Mark, I didn’t know you almost died several years ago from that disease I’ve never heard of. Praise the Lord you are fully recovered!!!

    Abundant blessings in your online ministry~. Anne

    • Mark Roberts says:

      Jonathan, thanks for your comment and for sharing this song. I had not heard it before. Love the lyrics, and it sure fits with this devotion. Blessings to you.

    • Mark Roberts says:

      Thanks, Anne. Yes, one of the reasons I almost died is that Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is extremely rare in California. Two years before I had it, another Californian got it and died from it. It’s more common in the southeastern U.S., though originally from the Rocky Mountains, as you may have guessed. Until my case got really bad, doctors would have had no reason to think I had RMSF. Thank God the infectious disease specialist at Huntington Hospital could think outside the box. I am very grateful to be alive, and very grateful for Dr. Kim Shriner who saved my life. She’s now deeply engaged in the COVID-19 fight. Blessings to you, Anne.

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