God Owns Time



I remember back in 2003 when I graduated from college, I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in Bible and Religion, and in my mind I was a first round draft pick for a church as I exited Harding University that year. I thought jobs would just fall at my feet because of my talent and training and knowledge. But for 9 months I lived with my parents, I worked at a paint store, and I enrolled in graduate school because I had nothing else to do. And I kept wondering, “When is God going to use me?” I thought to myself, “God I have given you the past 5 years of my education. The past 5 years I’ve been training to prepare myself to serve in your kingdom so why aren’t you using me.” I grew impatient. I considered myself to be wasted talent on the sidelines.
We’ve all been there before, in that moment when you are waiting on God’s timetable. Maybe you’re in that moment right.
Maybe you’re wondering, “Lord, when will lead me to the next phase of my career? When will you lead me to a job that I can enjoy? When will you open up an opportunity for a position that can provide the income that my family needs?”
Maybe you’re wondering, “Lord, when will you lead me to the person that I can spend the rest of my life with? When will I not be single anymore? When will I find someone to marry?”
Maybe you’re wondering, “Lord, when will we be able to have kids? When will you bless us with children? When will we be able to become parents?”
Maybe you’re wondering, “Lord, when will this pain go away? When will I be well again? When will I not have to see a doctor again?
“Lord, when will the grief subside? When will the memories not hurt so much?”
“Lord, when will I get past this storm? When will I get through this difficult experience that I’m enduring right now? When will I get past this phase of life that is challenging every fiber of my being?”
We’ve all been in the “when” stage before. We’ve all been stuck in that place where we’re wondering what God’s timeline is.
I’ve never struggled with believing that God CAN do anything in my life, but I have struggled with WHEN God will do something in my life. Because sometimes it’s harder to accept God’s answer to the question of “when” than it is to accept His answer to the question of “what” or “how” or “why.”

What is the Relationship Between God and Time?

God predated time.
Can you see the past? Yes, to some degree. You can envision past experiences in your mind’s eye or you can revisit moments from the past via some sort of recorded format (e.g. photographs, literature, movies, etc.). But your ability to see the past is limited. Can you see the future? Despite the fact that some claim to see the future such absolute forecasting is a scientific impossibility. Just ask your local weatherman! You can make predictions, you can calculate the possibilities, you can read the signs, but you cannot know with certainty what the future will hold. If our knowledge of the past is limited and our knowledge of the future is impossible then is it fair to say that we are inferior to time, that we in fact are bound by time?
As mortals we are confined to a four dimensional world, but God is not.
Scripture alludes to the fact that God predated time’s institution. For example in 1 Corinthians 2:7 (NIV) Paul said that God’s wisdom was “destined for our glory BEFORE TIME BEGAN.” Paul also stated in 2 Timothy 1:9 (NKJV) that God “saved us and called us…according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus BEFORE TIME BEGAN.” Then Paul added in Titus 1:2 (NKJV) that “eternal life...[was] promised BEFORE TIME BEGAN.” In these passages we learn that God’s wisdom and God’s promises (i.e. salvation) existed “before time began.”
The immortal God possesses characteristics like omniscience and omnipresence that allow Him to transcend the limitations placed on knowledge and location by the time-space continuum. In fact, God is referred to as “the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 22:13). By referring to God in these terms John indicates that God is timeless. That means that not only did God predate time, but He will postdate time as well. God is, as the psalmist said, “from everlasting to everlasting” (Psalm 90:2).
The point is this: while we are inferior to time, God is greater than time. And the fact that God is greater than time means that He is the only one who can see time in its totality. He can see the past without limitation, and He can the see the future with clarity. As a result, God is the only one who has perfect timing.
God is the inventor of time.
Scripture alludes to the fact that time had a beginning. Think about those verses we just read that indicated that God’s wisdom and God’s promises existed before time began. What is significant about this terminology is that it acknowledges that time had a beginning. So the question must be asked—From where did time come?
If you journey all the way back to Genesis 1:14 you will notice that on the fourth day of creation God created celestial bodies that “separated the day form the night” and “serve[d] as signs to mark seasons and days and years.” Essentially, God spoke and time began. I know the Bible doesn’t say it that way, but by creating the elements by which time would be measured God created time. This is significant because before the sun, the moon, and the stars governed day and night, calculated months and years, or divided the seasons there was no instrument for measuring time. In fact, without such an instrument time did not exist. Therefore, by creating the markers of time God also created time.
As the inventor of time, God is its sole owner. He holds the copyright, the trademark, the patent on time. No one else can create time. No one else can make time happen. God owns time. And His ownership of time necessitates that we acknowledge two things.
First, we must acknowledge that time belongs to Him. It is His to do with as He wills, and we are in no position to dictate how He uses it.
Second, we must acknowledge that there is no such thing as our time. All time is His time. As a result, we have no right to claim time as a personal possession.
The correct mindset toward time is demonstrated by David, who declared in Psalm 31:15 that “My times are in your hands.” David understood that God’s timing was better than his own timing, so he was willing to turn control of his time over to God. This is a profound declaration when you consider what David endured.
At a young age David was anointed the next king over the nation of Israel. From his youth he knew that he was going to be a king, but he did not know when he was going to be a king. You see, David was anointed during the reign of King Saul, which meant that he would have to wait for Saul’s tenure to end. In the meantime he became a celebrated hero because he defeated Goliath. He then became a member of Saul’s royal entourage, serving both as chief musician and chief military officer at different times. Eventually he became BFFs with Saul’s son and even a husband to Saul’s daughter. But this quick ascent into the public eye created immense jealousy in Saul, which resulted in the current king attempting to assassinate the king-to-be. The next few years of David’s life would be spent as a fugitive. He found himself living at times in caves and even enemy territory. His life was put on pause for a decade or more, and not once did he possess the remote control so that he could press play.
If I were David I would have been like a little kid in the backseat of the car on a long road trip asking, “Are we there yet?” over and over again. My mind would be stuck on the question when. When will I stop having to run? When will I not have to look over my shoulder anymore? When will Saul vacate the throne? When will I sleep in the palace? When will You fulfill in my life what you promised to do so many years ago?
But instead of focusing on when, David focused on who. Or, to say it another way, David did not allow time to dictate his life. That power was given to the One who dictates time. As a result, David surrendered his time.
It’s worth noting that before David said “My times are in your hands” he said, “In you, O LORD, I have taken refuge” (Psalm 31:1), “Into your hands I commit my spirit” (Psalm 31:5), and “I trust in you, O LORD” (Psalm 31:14). David was able to hand over time to God because David handed over his life to God.
God is the controller of time.
Do you know what an air traffic controller does? You know, the guy that Maverick and Goose would repeatedly annoy by “buzzing the tower.” An air traffic controller is perched in the airport’s control tower observing flight paths, communicating with pilots, and telling planes when they can land and when they can take off. He’s the guy that you never see but is often the source of your frustration when you have to sit an exorbitant amount of time on the runway. It’s his job to direct traffic. It’s his job to keep everyone safe. It’s his job to make things run smoothly. And sometimes in order to accomplish those objectives he has to make you wait.
God is kind of like an air traffic controller. He is perched in heaven observing the paths of our lives, communicating with us, and trying to maneuver us in the direction of His will. At times He will give the go ahead signal and at times He will ground everything. It’s His job to direct traffic. It’s His job to keep everyone safe. It’s His job to make things run smoothly. And sometimes in order to accomplish those objectives He has to make you wait.
Scripture asserts that God uses time to fulfill His purposes on His schedule through His people. Consider the following biblical examples.
Joseph spent thirteen years waiting on God’s will to be fulfilled. He endured forsakenness by his brothers, false accusations by his employer’s wife, and forgotten promises by the fellow prisoner he helped. The best years of his life were spent between a pit and a prison. But at the end of his story when his brothers were worried about the possibility of revenge, Joseph eased their minds by revealing that he viewed his wait as a part of God’s plan. In Genesis 50:19-20 he said, “Do not be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” In other words, Joseph recognized that everything he endured and the time it took away from his life all became a part of God’s grand plan to save His people.
Esther became the queen of Babylon during Israel’s captivity despite the fact that she was a Jew. During that time, her cousin, Mordecai, ran afoul of Haman, the King’s apparent right-hand-man. As a result, Haman convinced King Xerxes to pass a law that would initiate genocide against the Jews. Mordecai contacted Esther and urged her to convince the king to retract the law or else their entire race, including the coming Messiah, would be annihilated. As Mordecai plead with Esther to approach the king he said, “who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). In other words, Mordecai recognized that Esther’s rise to the position of queen could be a part of God’s grand plan to save His people.
In John 2:4 Jesus said, “my time has not yet come.” See also John 7:6, 8. In fact, it wasn’t until John 17:1 when He was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane the night He would be arrested that Jesus acknowledged said, “Father the time has come.” Even the life of the God’s Son was dictated by God’s timing. This may be most apparent in the fact that while on earth Jesus did not know when He would return (Matthew 24:36). Only the Father was privy to such information. That means that even the second coming is subject to God’s timing.
Since God is in control of time we must—like Joseph, like Esther, and like Jesus—accept the fact that God’s timing will always be better than our timing. As a result, we don’t have the authority to question His timing.
Who am I? I am just a passenger on the plane and He is the air traffic controller in the tower. He sees the entire grid while I can only see out of the window. He knows all of the activity in the sky while I only know the activity in my seat. So who am I to question His timing?

As Stewards, What Should Be Our Response to Time?

We must learn to be patient.
Patience is a virtue extolled throughout Scripture. Patience is a fruit of the spirit (Galatians 5:22). Patience is a characteristic in which we are to be “clothed” (Colossians 3:12).
But patience doesn’t come easy. We find it more difficult to wait than almost any other activity that cultivates Christian character. And the most frustrating aspect of patience is that it must be learned. Patience isn’t a characteristic that you inherit. Just look at a newborn. Do newborns have patience? When it’s time to eat, when it’s time to potty, or when it’s time to go to sleep do they have patience? We’re not born with patience; we learn patience.
God expects us to have patience as we wait for His timing to work out in areas of our lives where we have little to no control. I cannot control when disease strikes, when death comes, when the economy tanks, when life choices have to be made. I can’t always controls those factors but I’m supposed to trust in God through these circumstances and allow my trust to manifest itself through patience.
Ecclesiastes 7:8 says, “The end of a thing is better than its beginning; The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” My question for you this morning is do you exhibit patience? If not, what are you going to do to develop this characteristic that God expects you to possess as His disciple?
We must be persistent in prayer.
I am afraid that many Christians no longer believe that prayer has any power.
ILLUSTRATION: Grumbling and Thanksgiving
We’re kind of like the man had a habit of grumbling about the food his wife placed before him at family meals. Then he would ask the blessing. One day after his usual combination of complaint and prayer, his little girl asked, “Daddy, does God hear us when we pray?”
“Why, of course,” he replied. “He hears us every time we pray.”
She paused on this a moment, and asked, “Does He hear everything we say the rest of the time?”
“Yes, dear, every word,” he replied, encouraged that he had inspired his daughter to be curious about spiritual matters. However, his pride was quickly turned to humility at his daughter’s next question.
“Then, which does God believe?”
Scripture asserts that prayer has power. Let’s not forget that James 5:16 instructs us to “pray for one another.” Why? Because “the prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (ESV). And James gave us an example of this biblical truth. He referenced Elijah who “was a man with a nature like ours” (in other words, he was no different than us) “and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth.  Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit” (James 5:17-18 ESV).
And Scripture calls on us to live in prayer.
So you have 1 Thessalonians 5:17, which instructs us to “Pray without ceasing.”
Then you have Romans 12:12 (ESV), which says, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be CONSTANT in prayer.”
And then you have Philippians 4:6-7 in which Paul instructed us to “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” And do you know what this particular passages says will be the result of a prayer-oriented life? It says that peace is the result — “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” I’m certain we could use a little more peace in our hurried lives but in order to receive it we must be persistent in prayer.
We must maintain a constant state of preparedness.
Our relationship with time is one in which we should always be prepared because we have no influence over time. In Matthew 24:36-44 we are told that there is a “day and hour [which] no one knows, not even the angels of heaven” and it is the day and the hour of Christ’s return. As a result of this unknown day we are instructed to “Watch…for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming” and to “be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
Paul reiterated the importance of preparedness when he wrote these words in Romans 13:11-14 (NKJV)
And do this, KNOWING THE TIME, that now IT IS HIGH TIME to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.
ILLUSTRATION: Satan and His Imps from The Screwtape Letters
There is a legend about Satan and his imps planning their strategy for attacking the world that’s hearing the message of salvation. One of the demons says, “I’ve got the plan, master. When I get on the earth and take charge of people’s thinking, I’ll tell them there’s no heaven.”
The devil responds, “Ah, they’ll never believe that. This Book of Truth is full of messages about the hope of heaven through sins forgiven. They won’t believe that. They know there’s a glory yet future.”
On the other side of the room another says, “I’ve got the plan. I’ll tell ‘em there’s no hell.”
“No good,” he says. “Jesus, while He was on earth, talked more of hell than of heaven. They know in their hearts that their wrong will have to be taken care of in some way. They deserve nothing more than hell.”
And one brilliant little imp in the back stood up and said, “Then I know the answer. I’ll just tell them there’s no hurry.” And he’s the one Satan chose.
What about you? There’s a day coming when we will have to give an account for our lives. Have you made the necessary safety precautions.


Solomon said that there is a “proper time” for everything (Ecclesiastes 8:6), and that God “has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The sooner we accept God’s timing the sooner we can start “making the best use of the time” (Ephesians 5:16).
ILLUSTRATION: Time is More Valuable Than Money
Let’s pretend that your banker phoned you late last Friday and said he had some very good news. He told you that an anonymous donor who loves you very much has decided to deposit $1440 into your account each morning, starting the following Monday morning. That’s $1440 a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year.
He adds, “But there’s one stipulation; you must spend all that money that same day. No balance will be carried over to the next day.  Each evening the bank must cancel whatever sum you failed to use.”
With a big smile, you thank your banker and hang up. Over that weekend you have time to plan. You grab a pencil and start figuring; $1440 times seven equals over $10,000 a week; $10,000 times fifty-two, that’s in excess of $500,000 a year that you have available to you if you’re diligent to spend it all each day. Remember, whatever you don’t spend is forfeited.
Every morning Someone who loves you very much deposits into your bank of time 1440 minutes of time, which is equivalent to 24 hours. Now you’ve got to remember the same stipulation applies, because God gives you this amount of time for you to use each day. Nothing is ever carried over on credit to the next day. There is no such thing as a twenty-six hour day (though some of us wish there were). From today’s dawn until tomorrow’s dawn, you have a precisely determined amount of time.
As someone has put it, “Time is free, but it’s priceless. You can’t own it, but you can use it. You can’t keep it but you can spend it. Once you’ve lost it you can never get it back.” So let’s be good stewards of time!
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