June 20, 2016


Psalm 31:14-15 But I trust in you, O Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
My times are in your hands.

This is the perfect pivot from the complaints of verses 9-13. Open confessions of faith are generally quite helpful, often surprisingly so. As Paul noted, faith comes by hearing, (Romans 10:17) so speaking God’s truth helps the speaker as well as whoever else might be hearing. It is a known psychological phenomenon that we tend to believe what we ourselves say. That can even lead to creating false memories, if a made-up story is repeated often enough. That’s the science behind the “positive confession, negative confession” business, but with that terminology it is often taken to the point that people can’t give an honest assessment of their own situation. A far more Biblical approach would be, “This is my current situation, but God is more than able to deal with it.” Lots of people indeed close the door to blessings God has for them by repeating negative things so often they can’t believe anything could change, but saying, “I have such-and-such a disease, but God is my Healer” isn’t being negative at all. That said, one particular line of this passage especially caught my eye: “My times are in your hands.” We tend to be very uptight about when things happen, so this isn’t always an easy confession to make. It seems probable that David is here referring to major life events, such as time of death. However, this applies to every detail of life. We aren’t to be lazy, but we do need to recognize that time is God’s invention, and trust Him with it. Much of our stress has to do with the timing of things over which we have no control. When we realize that’s happening in our hearts, we need to make this confession, and release control to God.

The whole matter of time has been an issue for me most of my life. I hate to be late, for example, and it is a real irritation when others aren’t so punctual. It’s not so hard to recognize that God is in control of the big things, but somehow it’s much harder to trust Him with the little things that we think we should be able to control, but can’t. I am to strive to be a faithful steward of the time I have been given, and to teach others to do likewise, but I must not try to take control in the larger sense, especially in relation to others. I am to build up people’s faith, including my own, by speaking the truth of God consistently, not ignoring circumstances but always proclaiming that God is greater than the circumstances, and that He is good and loving.

Father, thank You for the training You have given me in this over the years, and that You are continuing that training even now. Help me not “flunk the practicum,” but apply the truth You have spoken to my heart so that Your will may be done, on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!

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About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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