I am almost always running late. I can’t say “always” because there is the rare occasion I am right on time or even early. In fact, I joke that because I was born one week early it cursed me to a lifetime of tardiness. I’m rarely late on purpose-it’s usually a matter of thinking I have more time than is actually allotted or getting sidetracked and losing track of time. Those closest to me expect me to arrive at least 30 minutes later than I’m supposed to and probably don’t start worrying about me unless I’m over an hour late.
I don’t wear a watch but I’m always checking the clock. Although I can lose track of time, I am very time conscious. I tend to be more focused on time when I have a deadline to meet or need to be somewhere “five minutes ago” and am being hit with various interruptions or setbacks that create roadblocks in meeting my deadline or arriving on time. I even have dreams of being late or never arriving to my destination because of road blocks.
I can also waste time. Procrastination and I used to be BFF’s. Although I strive to be more diligent today there are still days I throw a major “put-it off until tomorrow” party only to end up with a pile of must-do’s that are overdue.
Time is a universal obsession. Everyday someone is asking, “What time is it?” “How much time is left?” “What time does it start?” etc. There’s not a single conversation that doesn’t usual have time as part of the discussion. We measure time in seconds, hours, days, weeks, months and years. We give time limits and express concern for not having enough time. In his book, The Time Keeper, Mitch Albom puts it like this; “As mankind grew obsessed with its hours, the sorrow of lost time became a permanent hole in the human heart. People fretted over missed chances, over inefficient days; they worried constantly about how long they would live, because counting life’s moments had led, inevitably, to counting them down. Soon, in every nation and in every language, time became the most precious commodity.”
The greatest emphasis on time tends to center around people’s age, anniversaries and deaths. Our lives are measured in the number of birthdays we celebrate, our relationships are measured in the number of years we “stay together” and death is such a time stopper that it draws people to focus on how short life and time can really be.
Another way we focus on time is when we’re in a season of waiting. I am probably the guiltiest of this. Year after year of unfulfilled dreams, unanswered prayers or feeling like I’m a hamster running on a plastic wheel going nowhere, I focus greatly on time. I find myself anxious, worrisome and impatient. I entertain despair and hopelessness like they’re my neighbors inviting themselves over for coffee. My mind fills with negativity and I just want to give up. But God never gives up and is great at reminding me that His timetable is nothing like ours.
You see, God doesn’t wear a watch. That’s obvious in 2 Peter 3:8; “But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day.” (NLT) I’ve heard this verse a few times in my life and it’s usually when I am most impatient and fearing the dreams I have will never come to pass. He sent it to me yesterday and again today through two different forms of media-one was a phone call from a friend, the second was through an e-devotion. To the human brain that is so acutely trained to measure time, this verse can be a challenge to wrap your mind around. For me-I better understand it this way; Another day of waiting for me, is like a thousand years. But a thousand years of waiting is merely only a single day to God. He is the epitome of patience and as the saying goes, His timing really is perfect-it’s never too early and definitely not ever late.
I’m beyond familiar with the story of Abraham and Joseph’s seasons of waiting. Abraham was made to wait 25 years before the promise God spoke to him regarding an heir came to fruition. Joseph waited 13 years before his dream of leading his brothers came to pass. But yesterday, I learned a profound lesson that even Adam had to wait. I watched an interview between a pastor and a writer. The interview wasn’t exactly about time but waiting was discussed. The writer mentioned Adam. He spoke of the passage in Genesis where God said, “It is not good for man to be alone…” (Genesis 2:18). Just three verses later, we learn that God created Eve and called her a “suitable helper” for Adam. But what the writer pointed out was before God made Eve, He planted the dream of companionship in Adam’s heart then made him wait. Seriously-the very next verse tells us God made animals and told Adam to name them all. After Adam did that, we read there was still not a suitable helper for him so God made Eve. The interviewee has this interesting perspective to Adam’s season of waiting. Reading it in two short verses we tend to think he named all of the animals overnight. But in reality coming up with original names for every single animal on the earth could have taken 10 to even 100 years to complete. So here’s God putting the dream of companionship in Adam’s heart then making him do something else completely unrelated to his dream that most likely took him years to complete, making the longing of companionship deeper for who knows how many years and once that task is done-that’s when God brings the dream to pass and makes Eve, bone of Adam’s bone and flesh of Adam’s flesh.
Every season of waiting serves a mighty purpose in our lives. For some it’s refinement. For others, it’s to grow deeper in their relationship with Christ, to develop total dependency on Him or perhaps to develop more patience in their character. For me, I have finally realized all this waiting was to heal me. You see I have deep wounds. As much as I thought I was healed I am learning that my wounds have merely scabbed over. Circumstances arise regularly that rip the scabs off and an all too familiar pain pours out of my heart with an overwhelming ache that reduces me to tears. I hide it pretty well and only remove my mask to those closest to me. I’ve even tried burying the pain but it always resurfaces.
When we break a bone or undergo major surgery, if we don’t allow our bodies the proper time of healing we will continue to re-injure ourselves or worse, rip open the stitches from the surgery. Continuously injuring ourselves or ripping open a wound can lead to permanent injury and even infection or death. The same is true with emotional wounds. If we try to move on too soon, ignore the wound or bury it, we will continue to make unhealthy choices and get hurt.
Just like recovering from a broken bone or major surgery, recovering from emotional wounds is very painful also. We have to allow ourselves to feel the pain even when it’s most unbearable. Facing it, feeling it and dealing with it is the process God uses to heal us completely from it. Having this realization, I can face my season of waiting with a newfound hope because I want to be healed from my emotional wounds. I want all the holes in my heart from rejection, verbal abuse, broken relationships and abandonment to be filled with God. I want the scabs to turn into pretty pink scars that can never be ripped open again. And I know I will be healed because God is our Great Physician who heals all wounds. Ezekiel 36:26 is the perfect promise to stand on for emotional healing. In this verse, God promises He will “give us a new heart and a new spirit. He will remove from us these hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh.”
As doctors give broken bones and surgeries 6-8 weeks to heal, I’m giving my heart a time table of healing as well. For the next 6 months, I am going to focus on emotional healing. I will be do that by drawing closer to God, expressing the hurts that still exist, writing letters to my offenders (who will never see them but is merely a form of facing the hurts) and opening myself up to God’s ultimate healing. I am no longer going to bury the pain and even give myself permission to cry when the tears want to flow. I want to be completely emptied from old wounds and filled up with the wholeness that only comes from Christ’s mighty power of healing. I’ve never been so excited to feel pain and cry but this excites me for I know the outcome is going to make me better than the woman who’s typing this blog post today.