The Time Given Us

January 18, 2023 | Carrie Henry

The beginning of this new year recalls a scene from The Fellowship of the Ring. Frodo, heavy with the weight of responsibility to destroy the ring, is in despair about the unexpected difficulties he’s facing. He says, “I wish it need not have happened in my time.” Gandalf gives his friend wise counsel when he replies, “So do I, and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Having recently turned the calendar from 2022 to 2023, this is an opportunity to pause and reflect on how you and I steward the time given us.

2022 rang in for the Henry family on the heels of an intimate wedding ceremony at Buzzard’s Roost located in the beautiful Fall Creek Falls State Park. We celebrated the New Year recuperating from the months of wedding preparations and subsequent illness immediately following the wedding through Christmas Day. My heart was full of thanksgiving with rehearsing God’s grace piled upon grace for us. However, my then 55-year-old flesh was tuckered out, confronted with the passing of time and new limitations.

My husband, Travis, and I had chosen to read through the Bible together last year, using the Navigators Bible Reading Plan. We kept roughly the same pace and reading schedule each day and read together once or twice weekly. Finding that time to share how a particular verse affected me, and hearing Travis’ interpretation of it, helped us understand each other and grow closer. It stood as one of the best investments we made in our marriage last year. (So much so that we hope to read through the Bible together again in 2023!)

“Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” (Psalm 90:1-2)

In this Psalm, Moses is praying for the children of Israel to learn from what should have been a relatively short journey from Egypt to Israel yet turned into 40-years in the wilderness as nomads. Their lives were in a constant state of instability. In contrast to their frailty, the one thing that was consistent was the presence of the Lord dwelling among them.

Teach us to number our days, so we may get a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)

This Psalm of Moses is a reminder of the brevity of life, of giving thought to what we will do with the time given us. Much more than the best “life is short” quotes you will find on a Google search, “teach us to number our days” rings true of our need of God’s grace. Life is short but God, in his sovereign, merciful presence and protection, is our safe haven, our home. “Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.” (Psalm 90:1).

Moses concludes Psalm 90 by crying out to God, asking him to return to his people and satisfy them with his hesed (love, mercy). He then prays for God’s favor (beauty) to be on the people and that their work might prosper in his hands.

In the ever-changing environment of 2023, we might have circumstances where we relate to Frodo in that we wish it need not have happened in our time. But God is eternal. Our trust and hope are secure in him. We have only to decide what we will do with the time given us. Let our prayer be to the Lord, asking him to “number our days.” We wholly depend on our benevolent God to sustain us, hold us up, preserve us, and give grace to carry us. May we be his people who, because the Lord satisfies us in the morning with his steadfast love, we may sing and be glad all our days.