Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Running Out of Time

 I live with the constant frustration that I cannot accomplish all I want to on any given day. There is not a night that my head hits the pillow that I do not think of things I left undone. No matter how early I get up, how disciplined I am to redeem the time, how diligently I work, or how I try to work from home after hours I cannot cram everything into a day, week, and month that I hope to do. It is a never-ending cycle. 

I have hundreds of books that I want to read in my library and have not. I read as often as I can. I cannot read fast enough to get them all read. Mainly I read early in the morning and at night. I am in the middle of four different books right now. I realize that I am running out of time. 

I've lived more life than I have yet to live. This is a sobering thought. Sometimes I go week and months without writing something. I feel like I should write something every day. Some days I just run out of time or energy. This weighs heavily on me. There are many other blogs to write and books to author. I am running out of time to get those things into print. 

There are prayers to pray. Prayers to seek God. Intercessions on behalf of others. Burdens to unload. Mountains to move. Healings to believe for. 

There are sermons to prepare. Studies to put together. Administrative tasks to complete. Visits to make. 

All of that and I am running out of time. Don't get me wrong. I do not foresee my impending demise anytime soon. At 55 I do realize that my allotment of days is limited. It makes me more strategic about how I invest my time. I cannot do everything. Not even everything I want to do. I can do everything God calls me and wills me to do. 

Life seems so busy. Busier than I remember as a child. It seemed we lived at a slower pace back then. Now we are always on the go. Things to do. Places to be. Deadlines to meet. 

Jesus did not live so frantically. He did EVERYTHING His Father called Him to do. He healed. He taught. He loved. He embraced. He comforted. He rebuked. He worked. He prayed. All of this and His earthly time was limited. He only had 33 years on this planet to accomplish all that the Father called Him to do. I do not read where Jesus ever seemed to get in a hurry. People pressed in to see Him and hear Him teach. They crowded around Him to see or receive a miracle. All of that and He never was frazzled, burned out, or in a rush. 

He was and is God. He also walked the dusty roads of this world as a man. He got tired. We read about Him napping in a boat when a storm arose. He knew physical limitations and that He had a short amount of time to do His work. He made the most of His time. I do not think Jesus had wasted days. He lived a focused God centered life. That is comforting to me this morning. 

Instead of trying harder we all need to rely on Him more. We only have to do what God calls us to do on any given day and trust in His strength to get those things done. 

To make that more personal, I only have to write what He inspires me to write. I only have to read what He knows will benefit my soul, like His word. It my responsibility to lean into Him for the strength and perseverance to get those things done. 

Perhaps the greatest lesson I learn from Jesus is His use of time and how He had time for people. For lepers. For sinners. For friends. For His disciples. For religious rulers. For broken people. For the outcasts most others side stepped past. 

There is a danger of getting so busy that we do not make time for people. We get so driven and focused on tasks in front of us that we miss the people who cross our paths. We can see phone calls as interruptions. Texts as distractions. Unexpected visitors as intruders. Even those we love who are closest to us may not be enjoyed if we are so focused on work. Instead of dinner at the table meals are eaten on tv trays mesmerized by the tube. 

We are all running out of time. We only have so many laps around the sun before our time is up. How will we approach that truth? Will we buckle down to work harder? Will we throw our hands up helplessly in the air knowing we will never get it all done? Or will we seek Jesus and follow His model. Daily seeking to do what the Father wills us to do. Daily looking out for opportunities to minister to people. Not wasting our days but living each day with a God centered focus. 

If we do that, I am convinced when our time is over, when we die and go home to Jesus He will say, "Well done good and faithful servant." That will be a life well lived. 

Trickle of Tears

 The young man is hard working. Incredibly driven. He is not prone to show emotions. Stoic. He is hard on himself. Very determined. Resolute. That is why I never expected to see a trickle of tears in his eyes. 

We talked about something very sensitive to him. The conversation did not start out with any indication it would become emotional. When the conversation turned to the issue that touched a nerve in him the tears formed. He could not hold them back. I saw all the pain welling up in his eyes.  All the pain he has shoved down for a long time came bubbling to the surface. I reached out to give him a hug. 

It makes me wonder how many others live everyday with deep seated pains and sorrows buried beneath the surface. Shoved down so deeply that nobody else is even aware of them. People can do this for a season. Sooner or later that pain will find a way to manifest itself. Ulcers. Stress. Grinding of teeth. Sleepless nights. And of course, tears. 

Some are better than others at choking back the tears and bravely trudging through life. Stoically such people keep their emotions in check. God created tears. They serve a purpose. Tears release the pain hidden beneath the surface. Tears trigger people to rally around the hurting one for comfort and ministry. 

Even Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus. People speculate about what caused Jessus to weep. Was it because of the loss of his friend Lazarus. That is unlikely being that Jesus was about to call him back to life. Did He weep because of Mary and Martha? He had spent time in their home. They were his friends. Their grief could have easily been felt and shared. Was it because He knew where Lazarus was and that he was about to be summoned back to life from eternity? Maybe it was a combination of many things. Even Jesus felt pain. He can identify with others carrying pain deep inside that sometimes surface in a trickle of tears. He understands. He gets us. 

I wish I could pray a prayer to make the pain go away for that young man and for each of you. I wish I could hug it away. I wish I could preach or teach something that will make it better. All I can do is pray and love people through it. I carry the pain of so many now. Huge burdens. Travesties. I manage to keep it all down but sooner or later all that pain will become a trickle of tears. A verse I take great comfort in is that God is near to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. [Ps 34:18] He is near all of you caught in circumstances like an animal caught in a trap. He is our comforter and deliverer. Lean into Him who is able to do far more than we can think or ask according to His power that works in us. [Eph 3:20]