While There is Time By Ed McDowell
What will you do while there is time?
That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. (Joel 2:12 NLT)
What are some of the common statements about time that we experience?
Here are a few that get used often in my life: I think I have enough time I make time for what is important in my life. I don’t have enough time. I need more time. Do you think I can make it in time? Time flies when you are having fun. I ran out of time. Time got the better of me.
Is there still time?
Recently, a dear mentor and friend, Don Goehner, went home to be with God. It was in the middle of the COVID Pandemic. He lived a couple of states away. We talked and prayed often by phone, while we could. I booked flights to go see him, but we ran out of time. He is with God, as I will be one day. In these bodies, we ran out. I do wish I could have seen him one more time this side of heaven.
There is still time.
This is an invitation from God to you and me. In this scripture, God is asking us to give Him our hearts through repentance (fasting, weeping, and mourning). The prophet Joel continues to write the words of God with this:
Don’t tear your clothing in your grief but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish. (Joel 2:13, NLT)
God is inviting us to reach for what is deep in our lives (the tearing of our hearts). He is not looking for an image of repentance through our religious expression (the tearing of our clothes). He is reaching for the essence of who we are.
God is sharing with us the qualities He brings in response to us accepting His invitation (Mercy, compassion, unfailing love, his desire is not to punish or respond with holy anger).
The tearing of our hearts.
It happens when we come into the presence of God and see things for what they really are in our lives, relationships, culture, and world. You and I cannot endure being present before a holy God were it not for the graciousness of Jesus to give His life for our absolute mess.
As a result, I bring my torn heart before God knowing that He will meet me with love and care. Here are some practical examples of how this plays out in my life.
- I can bring unhealthy patterns of thinking to God. He meets me with words of life and renews my very thoughts and sets me thinking the right way.
- I can bring broken relationships to God. He meets me by interceding and working in these broken relationships beyond what I can see or know, inviting healing where brokenness exists.
- I can bring a torn heart for the normalization of death through abortion in our country. He meets me inviting me to live life every day and advocate for life in everyone and everything.
- I can bring a torn heart for the impact of catastrophes that disrupt and take life in epic proportion. God meets me with compassion and gives guidance as to how I can help in a situation that is much bigger than I am.
Encouragement for you.
While there is still time, receive His invitation to come to Him with a torn heart. God will meet you with mercy, love, compassion, and kindness.
Thank You for these words of time, invitation, and God’s response. May we act on Your invitation now. May we embrace repentance for what is broken and wrong today. We don’t do this as a religious demonstration, rather we come with a torn heart, in humility, needing the strong and loving response of God in our lives.
In Jesus name we pray,
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