by Candy Arrington @CandyArrington
But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hands…” Psalm 31:14-15 NIV
In her declining years, my mother struggled with a variety of health challenges. The combination of fragile bones and unsteadiness on her feet led to a number of falls and breaks. Following surgery to repair a vertebra fracture, and a too-brief sojourn to recovery in physical therapy rehab, I stayed with my mother when she came home.
The first night, after I finally got Mama settled—a box of tissues on the bed, a bell on the nightstand, enough (but not too much) covers, the door cracked just the right amount—I crawled into the guest bed, exhausted. On the bedside table perched an old wind-up clock. No other time indicators were in the room (this was before cell phones dominated our lives). I contemplated winding the clock, but hesitated, thinking of the potential intrusive noise, then decided to wind it anyway.
For hours, I lay there listening to something akin to the sound track of 60 Minutes.
After a while, I began to imagine little rhythms in my head to fit the ticking. Even with a pillow over my head, sleep was impossible. I considered taking the clock across the hall to the 1950’s-era tile bathroom, but decided the ticking would only be magnified in there. Finally, I buried the clock under a quilt at the foot of the bed. Although the sound diminished, I could still feel the pulse of the ticking through the mattress.
That night, I had ample opportunity to ponder time, and the fact that except for one incidence recorded in the Old Testament book of Joshua, time doesn’t stand still. Time marches on with each tick of the clock, continually moving us forward. Whether we approach the progression of time with fear or faith is our decision.
The eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews lists Bible heroes whose faith was notable. Noah is among them. When God told Noah he was going to destroy the world with a flood and that he needed to build an enormous boat, Noah believed Him. Instead of quaking with fear about the impending deluge, or focusing on the time necessary for the task before him, Noah got to work. Doubtless, others scoffed at him for building a boat nowhere near water and the fact that it was taking so many years to build, but Noah stayed focused and finished the job. He looked beyond the obstacles, saw the future through eyes of faith, and trusted God.
Those who gaze into the future with fear are often troubled by the what-ifs: there’s so much that could happen in the unknown. What if I lose my job, run out of money, receive an incurable diagnosis, an aging parent requires full-time care, my teen rebels, or adult child fails to launch? Allowing anxiety and fear to be in charge of our lives is like shackling ourselves to a heavy ball and chain.
It’s hard to move forward when you’re dragging worry and projecting tragedy with every step.
The opposite of fear is faith. Faith believes God is all-knowing, present everywhere at once, and cares about the circumstances of our lives. If we believe God, and trust him, future is not so scary. We can view the ticking of time with anticipation rather than anxiety, knowing, despite what comes next, God will be there to hold our hand and lead, comfort, help, and sustain us.
So the next time you hear a ticking clock, let the rhythm in your head be a song of praise to God for provision, protection, and the courage to move forward with confidence.
About the author: Candy Arrington has written hundreds of articles and devotionals, often on tough topics. Her books include AFTERSHOCK: Help, Hope, and Healing in the Wake of Suicide (B & H) and When Your Aging Parent Needs Care: Practical Help for This Season of Life (Harvest House). Candy is a native South Carolinian, who gains writing inspiration from historic architecture, vintage photographs, nature, and the application of Biblical principles to everyday life. Learn more about Candy at www.CandyArrington.com, where you can also read her blog, Forward Motion: Moving Beyond What Holds You Back.
Candy’s book, When Your Aging Parent Needs Care, is a help to those who face the special effort of caring for a parent. It provides support and direction to enable the caregiver to be spiritually, physically, and emotionally prepared for the day to day challenges they face.
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