Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My Times Are In Your Hands

I have this collection of watches.  I'm not sure why I keep them.  It's not like I will use them.  It's not like I can even wear them.  Any watch I've ever worn that has hands eventually stops working way before it should.  Never happens with digital watches, only the other kind.  It is a mystery.

I can tell you the precise time when each one stopped, even if I cannot say what day or year it was.  The moments stack up:  2:05, 10:30, 3:10, 1:11, 2:32.  I wonder what was occurring as each time signature came to rest.  What season was I in?  Was I happy?  Sad?  Hopeful?  Depressed?  The time signatures remain, but those forgotten moments are long gone.  I can hold those frozen watches in my hands, but the moments they represent have long since slipped through my fingers.

I am comforted by the thought that they have slipped into God's hands instead.  Those memories are held by the Almighty, the Alpha and Omega, the One who is and was and will come again.  Really, they never were out of His hands to begin with.  I might have lived each one of those moments, but He was holding them all along.

It's a truth hard to grasp at times.  My memories swim in and out of consciousness, some of them forever out of range, some too close for comfort.  But I see how it all turned out.  I am comforted by the imprint of Divine Love touching each one.  It doesn't matter that I couldn't see Grace unfolding in the awfulness of disappointment.  Grace was there anyway, mending and minding the tenuous threads of well-being that I thought were permanently broken.  When I couldn't hold on, God was already holding me.

Okay, here's the truth:  I found the verse before I found the watches.  Okay, even truer:  the verse found me.  I lay in bed the other night, my head swimming with uncertainties, the open-endedness of my life laughing at me.  I just wanted to let my insecurities pass into the night, to be covered by darkness, unseen and invisible to my heart and mind weary from trying to figure life out.  And then the words came.  From somewhere inside, a reminder that I was not alone in the confusion:

My times are in your hands  (Psalm 31:15). 

Why is it that I can so easily accept God holding all my past moments, even the excruciating ones, yet have so much difficulty grasping that God holds this present one too?

This moment, unfolding itself in my confusion and struggle. 

I love how the Holy Spirit works.  As I laid in the darkness my husband offered a nightly prayer for our family, our growing boys, and our work, our loved ones, and then mentioning me by name:  "Help Sami to know You are with her in the struggle." 

I begin to change my thinking.  Because back then, in all those moments of past tense, it was hard for me to see God's hand at work, holding me in the middle of  holding time.  It was hard for me to imagine that there was greater Purpose aligning what I couldn't understand with all kinds of wonderful that would eventually come clear.  But I see it now--I celebrate now Providence's plan lovingly arranged and arrayed in a past that is beautiful to me on this side of it.  If I can see my yesterday's with that kind of clarity, is it possible to look upon my now moments with that same kind of clarity as well, exercising the faith that knows in a future moment all this confusion will be okay too?

With the discovery came the determination to find all those watches--to put hands upon them, to gather them into one place in full view of my spiritual eye.  Those times and these times are sacred.  And they are Held.  Not even my incomprehension changes that.  They are Held. 

So am I.

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