It is Time
These words evoke an avalanche of thoughts and memories. Some are welcome; others come creeping back in when we least want them to. We will always remember when Sonya was pregnant with our children. When the time came for Jennifer to enter the world, we were young, in college, and completely clueless. When the time came, we didn’t know if Sonya was in labor or just nauseated. We talked to Granny, Sonya’s mom, and asked what she thought. Then we called the nurse, and she said, “It is time to head to the hospital.” When the time came for Ashley to be born two years later, we were far more knowledgeable about the process, so the only problem was waking Ben. But when Sonya said, “It is time,” everything changed.
Then the years quickly passed, and the calls came in. We have no greater memories than hearing the words over the telephone from our precious daughters, “It is time. The baby is coming.” What an adventure. New life was coming — it was time.
We will never forget the days we had to say goodbye to our mothers. For Ben, it was a day following a night of heavy snow. We made our way from our hotel room to the hospital in Kentucky. We knew that the machines keeping his mom alive were to be turned off. When most of the family had gathered around her bed, the decision was made. It was time to say goodbye. For Sonya, it was a day spent in the nursing home with her 95-year-old mother. We knew that God was ending her journey with us soon. We just didn’t know when. We whispered our goodbyes, hugged and kissed her, and held her for a moment knowing that when we walked away, it would be for the last time — the final goodbye.
We have served in the ministry for more than 35 years, and during those years, these words have meant so many things. It is time: for new programs, new buildings, new life to come into this world and the next, new members coming into the church, and new friends becoming part of our lives. Every one of these moments added worth and value as they became part of our story.
Just last week we said it again. “It is time to put away the Christmas decorations.” This week, it was time to flip the calendar page and ring in a new year. And with the turning of that page, we found our lives to be at a pivotal moment. All of us do – or at least we should. For some, it is time to put off the old ways and dress in the new garments that Christ has prepared for us by choosing to surrender our lives to Him. For others, it is time to address the areas of life that have been neglected and allowed to become so full of unnecessary things – wrong things. For all of us, it is a time for new beginnings. There is something deep inside of all of us that is filled with hope and awe with the striking of midnight on December 31. Even though there is not really anything different about January 1– it is just a day: a day off work, a day of football, or if you stayed up late, maybe a day to sleep in and lounge around in your pajamas. But the hope is there. And the possibilities are there if we are willing to take the time to see them and do something about them.
So, as you flip through the pages of your calendar and see all of the empty days waiting to be filled with activities and events and gatherings, be sure to plan for the most important moments of life – moments of change through worship and praise of our Creator God. As you stare at the blank pages, prepare yourself to be amazed at the memories that our Savior wants to write into your life knowing that on some of those days He will write in blessings and complete joy. But also know that there will be days of terrific pain and deep disappointment which He will walk you through if you will let Him. And through it all, know that if you celebrate both of these kinds of moments as part of God’s plan for your life, then His Amazing Grace will not have been wasted. His efforts to grow you into Christlikeness will not have been for nothing. And you will arrive at the day when you hear those words once again: “It is time. Come home, precious child. Rest with Me from all your labors.”
Ben and Sonya