Psalm 31:15 assures us that our times are in God’s hands. In other words all our days are lived out not randomly or luckily or fatalistically, but ‘providentially’; God sees us and knows us and cares for us and loves us. This neither abrogates our responsibility nor negates our ability to make personal choices about our lives. We are not robots, puppets or muppets! And yet still, our times are in God’s hands.
This was illustrated for me recently when visiting our son Matthew in Edinburgh. Watching him carefully and gently changing the nappy of his new born son, Finlay James, who was none too happy about it, and putting on his clothes amidst protestations, carrying him around the flat and just doing all the things that needs to be done for new-borns, painted such a vivid picture of how dependent we are and how dependable God is, though we might not appreciate the full extent of this, just as Finlay James doesn’t at such a young age. Despite our protestations and ego and self-assertiveness and even defiance towards God, God still looks out for us and over us and loves us so much that he was willing to pay the price for all our sins himself, in his Son on the cross.
I had to remind myself of the truth of the verse when I learned of the sudden, sad and premature death of a good friend of over 21 years, Iain D Campbell. Life events like this are hard to understand and harder still to take in. But Psalm 31:15 remains true. In fact when you survey the psalm you find that David records a broad range of life experiences and it is in that context that he says, ‘my times are in your hands’; when life is in danger (Ps 31:1-3), testing is near (Ps 31:4-5), the soul is in anguish (Ps 31:6-8), the body is weak (Ps 31:9-10), friends have deserted (Ps 31:11-13), lies are told (Ps 31:14-18), the future is uncertain (Ps 31:19-20), rejection is felt (Ps 31:21-22) and praise is easy (Ps 31:22-24), our times are in God’s hands.
We rejoice with those that rejoice and mourn with those that mourn and at last hold on to this- our times are in God’s hands.
Your friend and Pastor
Rev Colin MacLeod