We profess our belief in a God who "holds our souls in life and will not allow our feet to slip." Ps 66:7-8.
We call God our helper and deliverer and urge God not to delay in coming to our aid.
We proclaim God has sustained us since birth and has been the source of our strength. Ps. 71:5-6.
Yet, when Jesus was incarnate in our midst, speaking words of help, deliverance, and sustenance, the response was " I will follow, but...first let me go and do what I think is important, what I think I need to do, what I want to do." Luke 9:61-62.
During Lent I have been attempting to be faithful to praying using the Divine Hours as my resource for prayer four times a day. This has required me to think a lot about the function of time. It seems like it should be simple- four times a day: once between 6 am and 9 am; between 11 am and 2 pm; between 5 pm and 8 pm and before bed. With broad parameters, how hard could it be?
What I have learned is that these are the busiest times of my day. In the morning when everyone is trying to get out of the door, and I am hoping the coffee kicks in, and there are always things people need, or things that I need to know for later, like who needs to be somewhere, and what they need to bring, or what deadline is approaching, what will we eat, when will we shop for the prom dress, when will LC#1 get another driving lesson, the list can seem like a giant snowball headed down the hill getting bigger and faster. And I am supposed to find a quiet place and pray?
Between 11 and 2 is the part of the day when people are coming and going, or meetings are starting or ending, or the hospital beckons, and I should do so many things before later in the day.
Between 5 and 8 is the dinner, music lessons, exercise class, feed the dog, homework, I need this for tomorrow, guess who is coming over tonite, how was your day time.
By the time we get to bedtime, I can be so ready to just crawl under the comforter and sleep.
Time can be a master.
By trying to be faithful to the prayer times, I remember that passage from Luke about, "first let me do ______." And what Jesus says after about looking back. Times when I settle in to prayer but so many distractions try to pull me back, pull me away.
Today in the morning office, the morning psalm comes from Psalm 90:1-8; 12.
God as our refuge from one generation to another.
God in time before creation.
God's view of time is broad,
yet we are quickly swept away, and fade like withered grass. Our time is brief.
We begin green and flourishing, but time speeds on.
And while we exist, we consume away, to God's displeasure.
We consume away- today this phrase in verse 7 struck me.
God who desires relationship with us, is placed in abeyance by us, by me, in all of the ways, I say "I'll get to you, God, but first... let me tend my house, my kids, my dog, my money, my job, my ___________."
All of these things are so tempting, continually calling us away.
Later in the psalm we hear, "teach us to number our days" -
see that we do not have God's infinity- we will run out of earthly time- so how long will we make God wait?
We also do not have God's vision of time and creation, which leads to greater wisdom,
So often we use our shorter sight, always searching for possibilities without remembering that God is here and waiting and ready to hold, help, deliver, strengthen and sustain.
I am still working at being more faithful to the prayer times, not because if I slavishly "do them" it will mean credit, but because when I embrace these times with God and live more fully into being still and being with God, little inklings of wisdom, patience, grace and mercy are revealed that indeed sustain my days.
I leave you with a clip from the Bangles (Simon and Garfunkel re-do)that speaks of the "time" factor and encourage you to ponder your own song about the times you leave that behind with God.
Almighty God, whose blessed Son was led by the Spirit to be tempted by Satan: Come quickly to help us who are assaulted by many temptations, and as you know the weaknesses of each of us, let each one find you mighty to save, through Jesus Christ our Lord who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.