“My times are in your hand.” (Psalm 31:15 ESV)
Imagine my frustration with my Dollar Store bargain. In spite of the clock on my computer, the time of day on my cellphone, and my wristwatch, I wanted to note the time—and it was exactly the same time it was when I last checked. Yes, I changed the batteries yesterday! Something about the big hand on the 11 evidently is messing this clock up. It makes it almost to the top, and then it’s just too hard to move on. Every once in a while it gets stuck.
Kind of like 2020.
We think we’re moving again, and then suddenly, we’re not. We keep ticking, but time stops. We make it almost to the “easy part,” to the downhill, but we just can’t get over the hump. We’re behind. We’re ready to give up. We quit.
Sometimes it’s a library with more to do than can be done, too many problems and not enough solutions, too many demands and not enough provisions—and maybe not enough users and interest and champions. Sometimes it’s a diet—and no matter what we say no to, the pounds hang on. Sometimes it’s the project we’re working on that stalls out without good solutions. We have only those tough knots to be untangled and sorted through that require huge quantities of patience and persistence. Sometimes it’s the relationship with a frenemy. The maintenance fees are just too high. Sometimes it’s a marriage, where we say the same things over and over and the apologies are losing impact—or are assumed. We’ve given more than our share until there’s not much left to offer. Sometimes it’s a child who has zapped our strength and finances and hopes. We are no longer able to face another scene or play our part in another drama. Sometimes it’s a church. Our investments are not paying off. Nothing is getting better. Sometimes it’s loss—and we cannot see tomorrow for the weight of grief that drags us under.
Like the Dollar Store clock, we’re stuck at the 11, and our batteries are running low trying to tick over the top.
Then what? You need a reset.
You need Someone to come in and turn the hands of time for you and set things right again. I’m not saying the problems will be fixed and the big hand on the 11 won’t snag you again. I’m not saying the battle fatigue will never reappear. I’m not saying you can trust the clock every time you glance over at it. But I am saying the clock will still tick. Time will move ahead. We may be a little slower, we may need adjustments often, but we can keep going, keep trusting, keep hoping for tomorrow. The One who made time, who set the sun and stars in their places, is the One who holds our times in His hands. I’ll rest in that.
Carol is a Data Services Librarian at Trevecca University and Editor at Randall House Publishers in the Nashville, TN area. She has been an ACL member since 1989.