A Word About…Our Times

July 14, 2020

by Ken Jones

CMDA offers its members and friends some great opportunities for educational travel, and this fall’s  will be just such a trip. I’ve been privileged to be in Greece and retrace the footsteps of Paul and his missionary journeys. On our trip, I vividly remember standing atop Mars Hill, reading aloud Paul’s address to those Stoic philosophers. Part of that incredibly brilliant message in Acts 17 included these words:

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being…’” (Acts 17:24-28, NIV 1984).

I guess one of the reasons I love that part of Paul’s message so much is not only its simplicity, but the implications of that simplicity for my life:

  1. God made the world and everything in it.
  2. He is not served by human hands, meaning there’s not a blessed thing I can do for God. Thank you very much, but God doesn’t need a thing, and especially not what my paltry hands could ever do or produce.
  3. He’s the One, the One who gives every-other-one on this earth life, breath and EVERYTHING else.
  4. He’s the One who, from one man, made all the others.
  5. He marked out specific times and places in appointed history for every human being. No one is born by accident.
  6. And He did it and continues to do it, so that we “…would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him,” even though He’s not hard to find, closer than our next breath, “For in him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:27-28, NIV 1984).

Ever since the day I stood atop Mars Hill in Athens, I’ve pondered, studied and reflected on Paul’s “timeless” message about time. In Psalm 31, the songwriter David said, “My times are in thy hand” (Psalm 31:15a, KJV). God holds my time in His hands. I’m not even sure what all of that means, but I love what C.H. Spurgeon wrote about our time being in His hands:

“The great truth is this: All that concerns the believer is in the hands of the Almighty God. ‘My times,’ these change and shift; but they change only in accordance with unchanging love, and they shift only according to the purpose of One with whom is no variableness nor shadow of a turning. ‘My times,’ that is to say, my ups and my downs, my health and my sickness, my poverty and my wealth-all those are in the hand of the Lord, who arranges and appoints according to his holy will the length of my days, and the darkness of my nights. Storms and calms vary the seasons at the divine appointment. Whether times are reviving or depressing remains with him who is Lord both of time and of eternity; and we are glad it is so.”

The times in which we live are held in the firm grip of the God who created every moment that will ever be. That is an eternal and timeless truth.

But the gnawing question I must address?

How shall I live out those last six words of Spurgeon’s message: “… we are glad it is so”?

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