A blessed New Year!
As we prepare to enter a new year, we’ve been thinking about how the Holy Spirit is not much interested in length of time, but rather in particular times, scenes and events. The greatest “time” was when Jesus came to earth as a baby. The moment when Jesus was born, the moment when He died, the moment when He rose again from the dead – in fact any moment in Jesus’ life – were no pinpricks on the surface of history, but events, which changed eternity. What counts is not longevity, but when God makes our day. “A day in your courts is better than a thousand,” wrote the Psalmist (Psalm 84:10).
“My times are in your hand” ... I wonder why the cross-referencing system of the NIV links this verse, Psalm 31:15, to Job 14:5. When Job said, “[Man’s] days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months” (NIV), he was talking about how many days he had in his life, but the Psalmist is talking about special days. His times, special days, were in God’s hand, whether they were painful or pleasant. God invests every situation with promise. He fertilizes the most barren field and it burgeons like a new creation.
God makes “all things work together for good” (Romans 8:28). The operative word is “together”. Without God, there are incidents but no coherence, no overall meaning. The story goes that Cromwell’s soldiers once smashed a church’s great stained-glass window. The villagers picked up the shards and re-leaded them. The result today is an attraction far greater than the original. When things go to pieces for us the craftsmanship of God works them “together for good”, the whole being greater than the parts. Scripture is full of “shards”, scattered accounts and stories, broken lives and circumstances, all becoming strokes in the masterpiece. God is the God of time as well as of specific “times”, able to focus on the detail as well as on the overall picture. He ties trivialities and triumphs together into a complete, unequalled scenario.
Whatever we enter into our diaries, God has the long-term operative calendar. His purposes transcend our priorities. We can be agitated, frustrated or impatient, but He knows where He wants us and when. We have our celebrations – birthdays and anniversaries, engagement parties and wedding days – but we can wait as God turns the pages of His diary of appointments. One single God-directed day for us can affect the world more than 36,500 self-directed days, 100 years. Indeed, to God “one day is as a thousand years” (2 Peter 3:8). That is, a single day can be as effective as 1,000 years when God makes it so.
Footprints to guide us
Jesus told the story of the wealthy farmer who decided to retire and do nothing at all, except eat and drink. He forgot the pure ring and endless light of eternity, loved time too well, and never cried in the night for the living God. He kept his life in his own hands, or so he intended, but God said, “This night your soul will be required of you” (Luke 12:20). God always has the last word. What is done is done, and we cannot scroll His computer back to yesterday. The torrent of our days cannot be amended or rewritten nor can the proofs be corrected.
Our years are made up of small moments of small matters, the petty round of irritating duties and concerns, the trivialities of our mortality. But put this mundane stuff into God’s hands, like common clay, trust in Him, and see what He makes of it! He makes “everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). We are pioneers put ashore on the unknown continent of the future. But look! There are footprints to guide us! The Lord of the land of time has gone ahead of us and laid tracks to show us the way. If we keep our eyes on Jesus we shall never get lost.
2018 will be another great year of harvest. This is God’s will for sure. He is the Lord of the Harvest, which needs to be brought in to prepare for His return. It is our calling to concentrate on it being endued with the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for your part in this soul-winning ministry of Christ for all Nations.
Happy New Year 2018!
Forever in Christ,
Daniel Kolenda and Reinhard Bonnke
together with the international CfaN team