One day, only a few short weeks ago, I had the strangest thing happen. I found myself with nothing pressing to do. The kids were at school and wouldn’t be home for hours. The house was clean enough. There was left over lasagna for dinner. The dog was bathed. My family was healthy. I was planning on a bike ride with the kids later so I didn’t need to exercise. I’d been to the grocery store and Target the day before. I’d finished my laundry before the sun rose. I had even given my hair a color tweak so the bothersome greys were history! What to do, what to do….
With the question of how to spend the day before me, it only took a few seconds to feel the weight of what I should do. The schoolroom and office closet was a mess. I should clean it out. The front door needed a coat of paint. I should paint it. The garage had several stacks of things to be sorted. I should sort them. I should work in the yard, pull weeds, and re-pot plants. I should call a friend I haven’t talked to in ages. On and on and on… I started “shoulding” on myself. I couldn’t handle the burden so I decided instead to clean out a drawer. This I could handle. One small drawer. In about an hour a drawer that began the day so full it could neither be opened nor closed became orderly and functional. The best part however, was finding long forgotten trinkets and treasures I gave to my kids when they got home. It was like Christmas! Those other things I should have done, the truly important ones, were still there the next day.
As I cleaned out my one drawer I thought about life. I thought about our time here on earth. I thought about how nice it was not to worry about undertaking any great task. I found freedom in focusing on one small accomplishment. The great tasks, that day, would have consumed my time and energy and I wouldn’t have been able to have lunch with my husband or go on that bike ride with my kids. I thought about how often I get bogged down with the enormity of things I should do and end up missing the smaller things I actually can do. I thought about the small treasures waiting to be discovered and shared. I thought about how nice it is that God gave us pieces of time, “days” we can actually deal with. I started singing, “One drawer at a time sweet Jesus!” It might become my theme song.
It might simply be a sign of old age, but I have been thinking a lot about time lately.
How should I spend it? How can I save it? Am I resting in it? Does it really heal all wounds? On any given day, I might wish for more of it and on others the end of it can’t come quickly enough. It’s strange how time plays tricks on your mind. Twenty years ago feels like yesterday, next month seems ages away. I’ve wondered if time is something other than linear: the mere passing of minutes, hours, days, months, and years. Is God’s eye view of time different than ours because He is eternal? If so, how would that affect the promises He has made to us, to those who believe? He must see things differently than we do. He is God after all and we are not.
Time for us is a segmented line of yesterdays, todays, and tomorrows. God knew what He was doing when He created our measuring system. Our finite minds needed the smaller pieces we could grapple with and mark. We can’t handle the expanse of His reality. It’s like one day or one drawer at a time, right? Unfortunately, we’ve used our limited and segmented measurement to relate to and try to explain an infinite God and our lives are sometimes reduced to nothing more than an ongoing plotting of regrets, events, and future fears.
We have trouble with some of God’s promises and explanations of Himself because we want them to them fit into our time frames. I believe He is a Good Father who cares for and keeps His children (for all time) as Jesus and the writers of the New Testament explain. God sees me; my past, present, and future fully and completely in a way I won’t understand this side of Heaven. It could be scary having someone know everything about me, including the choices I have yet to make but I’m not frightened or embarrassed or even ashamed. I have not been perfect, I am not perfect, nor will I ever be anything close to perfect in this life in the flesh and yet He is my Good Father. He is holding me in His loving hands. He won’t let go. I find transcendent rest in the thought that He has provided a way for me to be in relationship with Him in His time.
If we believed what God says about time, verses like Hebrews 10:11-13 would bring abundant peace. If we truly believe His one perfect sacrifice for all sin, for all time finished the work He deemed necessary to provide a way for flawed human beings to be in relationship with a Holy God, then we can be at rest as He is. His work is so completely finished He is sitting down. There is no distinction that He is sitting down having only taken care of the sins of our past or the things we presently feel guilty about and are promising to at least try to not do again in the future. The past, present, and future distinction is ours. Not His. For all time is His distinction. Romans 8:38-39 agrees. Nothing in the present or in the future, nothing, is able separate us from the love of God, which is ours if we are in Christ.
It’s been about a month since I cleaned out my drawer. Several of the shoulds on my list remain undone, a fact that could cause me great anxiety. Instead, I choose to be grateful for the day I have just completed. It has proven to be another day in which God has provided all my needs and has satisfied all my wants. I will rest in a deep assurance that my good standing with God has nothing to do with what I have done or accomplished in this day, but it has everything to do with what Jesus accomplished while He was here on earth. I will rest knowing my God is good. I will rest knowing I have a Friend and Counselor who is with me. It is in this rest I will find all I need to face whatever drawer is mine to face tomorrow. One drawer, one day at a time sweet Jesus!!