Written by Suzannah Miller / September 2016
College students tend to have an acute awareness of time. With deadlines and due dates, I have many things to accomplish and seemingly never enough time to do them. Frequently, I find myself lamenting the “terrible timing” when I’m dealing with multiple issues at the same time. Challenging situations are never limited just to school—you may find yourself dealing with family or work issues, illness, or personal loss on top of college. I’ve expected to face these types of problems at some point in my life, but does it have to be now? Frequently I find myself justifying my frustration and despondency by blaming the timing.
But Christians are not victims of bad timing.
Things will come up, good and bad, and we can’t skip them or speed through them. Sometimes we may have to fight for things we value or sometimes we may find that God is calling us to a completely new period in our lives.
In Romans 8:28, Paul writes “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, to those who are called according to his purpose” (ESV). This includes the timing of when things occur in our lives. We don’t usually understand why God chooses things to happen when they do, but it is incredibly comforting to know that we are experiencing the best possible timing. God’s timeline is perfect, and His will is always done.
We can pray with the Psalmist, “My times are in your hands…” (Ps. 31:15) and take comfort in God’s control over our lives. Yet, we still find ourselves moving through time, and we must ask ourselves how we should use the time God has given to us. We still have assignments and due dates, and everything we do takes time. As college students, we are encouraged to develop our time-management skills and to “make every minute count,” and this advice doesn’t seem to be unbiblical. The Bible mentions perseverance, running our race with endurance, watching and praying—constantly. Long-distance running is a minute-by-minute task which requires pacing. A runner can’t let up, but he also can’t go crazy and sprint the entire route. As Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes, “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven” (3:1). Things will come up, good and bad, and we can’t skip them or speed through them. Sometimes we may have to fight for things we value or sometimes we may find that God is calling us to a completely new period in our lives. In all of this, we also have to give our bodies and souls a chance to be built up and refreshed.
With our hectic college schedules, we especially need to be reminded to prioritize our time to address our spiritual needs. We want to look for opportunities to share God’s Word, and also take the time to search His Word daily to better understand His will. As we “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” (Matt. 6:33), we can be assured that God will take care of all of our needs and all of tomorrow’s problems.
To our senses, time plods along relentlessly. To God, time is relative: “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day” (2 Pet. 3:8). God is timeless yet patient. He gives us a time of grace where the Holy Spirit can work in our hearts through God’s Word to bring us to faith. During this time, we live in a sinful world filled with pain and conflict, where even time can become a source of frustration. When the assignments pile up this semester and time seems to pass too quickly, remember that it is a good thing that time passes for someday we too shall pass from the temporal to the eternal through the timeless, all-sufficient death and resurrection of Jesus Christ!