life up-ended

What do you do when life doesn’t go your way? When you plan for this but that happens instead? Maybe the car accident or cancer diagnosis upends your calendar or your retirement plans go “kaput” in the latest bank crisis. It sends you reeling and you have to make some serious course corrections. So what will you do next?

It has to do with perspective and how you view your time and the use of your time. In John 7, Jesus’ brothers and sisters didn’t believe who He was. They gave Him advice, “Leave here and go to Judea, that your disciples also may see the works you are doing. For no one works in secret if he seeks to be known openly. If you do these things, show yourself to the world.” We don’t know what their motives were, but we do know they didn’t believe Him, “for not even his brothers believed in him.” Jesus replied, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always here.” That’s the key. Jesus is focused on His purpose, His goal, His destiny, what He is doing with His time: heading to the cross. The Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, to give His life as a ransom for many. He’s the good shepherd who was laying down His life for the sheep. He does as His Father wills and He is in complete control of the events of His life. He will do what He’s supposed to do with His time at the right time.

And this is very different from the brothers and sisters who don’t believe, as Jesus continued, “Your time is always here.” They can come and go as they please, they’re not under any restrictions or priorities, they’re not going to the cross to die for sinful man. When it comes to time, they do what they want and what they think is best. They have no responsibilities or schedules to keep. “Ke, sara, sara, whatever will be, will be” is their motto. Their view of time is self-centered and not dictated by God.

Think about your life and schedule and time when life deals you a different hand than you expected. Are you on Christ’s timetable or your own? Is God in control of your life and time? You are not your own in Christ, you are bought with a price. As a child of God, you’re on God’s timetable, completing God’s agenda. Your time is not your own in Christ. You’re not free to “come and go” as you please, in Christ. If you are in Christ, your time is in His hands (Psalm 31:15) and God makes everything beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). What you see as “messing with your schedule” is really God at work, if you belong to Him.

As you deal with the upheaval and changes you’re facing, think about your perspective and goals. Do you know Jesus? Are you living for yourself or for Him? Are you like Jesus or the brothers and sisters? How might He be directing and using the events you’re facing? When the unexpected happens, it is an exercise in trusting God and learning to trust Him more. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you (1 Peter 5:6-7).”