“My times are in Thy hand” — was recommended the transcript of this 1891 Charles Spurgeon sermon by a dear sister. Finally got to read it through today… and I have to say, it’s beautiful. The basis is one of David’s psalms:
“But I trusted in Thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in Thy hand… Make Thy face to shine upon Thy servant: save me for Thy mercies’ sake.” (Psalm 31:14-16, KJV)
I hadn’t paid much attention to this precious passage before, but I have expressed similar sentiments in some of my previous posts (like this one and this one). So I quote Spurgeon without comment:
- Many are the fiery darts of the wicked one; but our shield is one.
- He that can say, “This kingdom is mine,” makes a royal claim; he that can say, “This mountain of silver is mine,” makes a wealthy claim; but he that can say to the Lord, “Thou art my God,” hath said more than all monarchs and millionaires can reach.
- To be entirely at the disposal of God is life and liberty for us.
- “My times”, these change and shift; but they change only in accordance with unchanging love, and they shift only according to the purpose of One with whom is no variableness nor shadow of a turning.
- Everything that concerns Christ touches the great Father’s heart. He thinks more of Jesus than of all the world. Hence it follows that when we become one with Jesus, we become conspicuous objects of the Father’s care.
- Thy Father comprehends all things, though thou dost not: let his wisdom be enough for thee.
- He has all heaven to worship him, and all worlds to govern; and yet “my times” — the times of such an inconsiderable and unworthy person as I am — are in his hand. Now, what is man that it should be so? Wonder of wonders, that God should not only think of me, but should make my concerns his concerns, and take my matters into his hand!
- “It is not my business to provide for myself or for my family: my times are in God’s hand; and his name is Jehovah-Jireh, the Lord will provide; and I will not do a questionable thing, though it would fill my house with silver and gold from the cellar to the chimney-pot. I shall not meddle with my Lord’s business. It is his to provide for me: it is mine to walk uprightly, and obey his Word.”
- When you have a lawsuit, the opposite side will like to come and talk with you, to see if they can get something out of you. It will be your wisdom to reply, “If you have anything to say, say it to my solicitor.” If the devil comes to you, and you get into an argument with him, he will beat you; for he is a very ancient lawyer, and he has been at the business for so many ages that you cannot match him. Send him to your Advocate. Refer him to the Wonderful, the Counsellor. Ever shelter beneath this fact, “My times are in his hand. I have left the whole business to another, and I cannot dishonor him by intermeddling.”
- Why is it, my sister …why do you vex yourself about a matter which is in the hand of God? … Tell me, did you ever make a sixpence by worrying? It is a very unprofitable business. Do you answer, “What, then, are we to do in troublous times”? Why, go to him into whose hand you have committed yourself and your times. Consult with infinite wisdom by prayer; console yourself with infinite love by fellowship with God. Tell the Lord what you feel, and what you fear.
- When we get into a difficulty we shall say, “I am now going to see the wonders of God, and to learn again how surely he delivers them that trust in him.”
- The future is intended to be a sealed book. The present is all we need to have before us. Do thy day’s work in its day, and leave to-morrow with thy God.
- The best way to live above all fear of death is to die every morning before you leave your bedroom. The apostle Paul said, “I die daily.” When you have got into the holy habit of daily dying, it will come easy to you to die for the last time.
- God does not answer all his people’s prayers, for he has better things for them than they ask.
- Queen Elizabeth wished one of the leading merchants of London to go to Holland to watch her interests there. The honest man told her Majesty that he would obey her commands; but he begged her to remember that it would involve the ruin of his own trade for him to be absent. To this the Queen replied, “If you will see to my business, I will see to your business.” With such a royal promise he might willingly let his own business go; for a queen should have it in her power to do more for a subject than he can do for himself.
- Sir Francis Drake, after he had sailed round the world, came up the Thames, and when he had passed Gravesend there came a storm which threatened the ship. The brave commander said, “What! Go round the world safely, and then get drowned in a ditch? Never!” So we ought to say. God has upheld us in great tribulations, and we are not going to be cast down about trials which are common to men. … “My times are in thy hand,” and therefore the end will be glorious.
Just a word on #11, since I haven’t yet written on it. Possibly my biggest take-away from my 2nd term of the FTTA was from a shepherding appointment where I learned that I can prove God’s economy. When I don’t know, can’t go on, have no way out, I have a blessed opportunity: to prove God’s economy. The sister didn’t explain further, but my understanding is this: I take care of letting Him dispense Himself into me, and He takes care of everything else. These 4 years of med school and however many years of residency are for this; the future that Spurgeon called “a sealed book” is for this; the matter that I’m currently struggling with is for this. And one thing I can be assured of: “the end [of this dispensing] will be glorious”.
Revision/addition: I just went and watched the recording of br BC’s memorial meeting (2016 Feb 27 in NYC), where br Dennis C spoke the source of the sister’s fellowship. I’m so glad I found it — so I don’t have to live forever in my own interpretation. Here it is in his words:
There was a time in my serving here when I was passing through something. It didn’t seem like it was that light (2 Cor. 4:17), but it was some affliction. I came to brother B, and I kind of expected him to sympathize with me and say “Yeah, yeah, that’s tough.” But he didn’t do that. He said “Brother, you have a golden opportunity. You will never find yourself in this situation again in the rest of your life. Now is the time you have to apply God’s economy to this situation. Test it! I’m a scientist — we have to test it! If this is God’s economy, it has to work in this environment as well as that environment.” I was shocked by this. Somewhat like Paul in 1 Corinthians 7 — don’t try to change your status. Don’t try to change your environment. Just remain there with God. And I practiced this. And I was so happy — it works! It really works. Even though the environment didn’t change, I was enjoying the Lord.
This is golden. That latter verse was my rhema from P&J’s wedding (2016 Oct 22 in Surrey) and pretty much my anchor through the first term of being stuck back in school. (I thought I had a post on it, but guess not until now…)
Each one, brothers, in what status he was called, in this let him remain with God. (1 Corinthians 7:24)
“Don’t be so quick”, the Lord was saying, “don’t be so quick to get out of your current status. Learn to remain. But don’t just remain in the status — remain with Me.” So I’m still learning to remain. Again and again — first term, second term, during the summer — I asked the Lord, “What about now? Is now the time for me to finish the training?” His response was just the same: “Remain where you are, with Me.” And it’s true — I’ll never find myself in this situation again in the rest of my life. So now is the time for me to apply God’s economy. And test it!
Methinks He’s happy to be tested in this way.