What Time is It?

By Jacob Hawk Published on January 5, 2024

My beautiful wife and I, along with our dapper parents, just returned from a wonderful Christmas in the “Big Apple.” It was everything one would suspect. City sidewalks dressed in style. Christmas lights as far as the eye can see. Magnificent days in a special place.

I set an important goal to accomplish in our 90 hours in Manhattan. In addition to seeing Rockefeller Center, the Rockettes, and every Christmas attraction in the “city that never sleeps,” I vowed to buy a fake Rolex. Nothing says elegance and class like shopping out of a briefcase on the street next to a hot dog vendor.

I completed the task. I negotiated the Times Square, curbside salesman down to a price that I could live with, and I proudly walked off wearing a Rolex (“Fauxlex”) with a pep in my step. Since then, my Fauxlex has stopped working — twice. It also tells me it is the 23rd of some month. Your guess is as good as mine.

Do I still wear it? With pleasure. But if I am wearing a gold watch and you ask me what time it is, and if I shrug my shoulders or change the topic, I am not being rude or evasive. I literally do not know.

The Present Time

Much to God’s chagrin, mankind has struggled to know what time it is. On one occasion, Jesus rebuked large crowds with the following indictment: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, immediately you say, ‘It’s going to rain,’ and it does. And when the south wind blows, you say, ‘It’s going to be hot,’ and it is. Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret the present time?” (Luke 12: 54-56, NIV)

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Others were more successful in their “time-telling.” To know when to finally deboard the Ark, Noah sent out a dove three times for confirmation — with no return of the dove, Noah knew it was time to safely exit. (Genesis 8:12) To seek God’s direction in battle, Gideon “put the fleece out before the Lord,” not just once, but twice, to verify that it was God’s timing. (Judges 6: 33-40) Esther was nudged by a close friend to step into a divine calling to save the Jewish people “for such a time as this.” (Esther 4:14, NIV)

A Shell of Uncertainty

Most, however, are not as fortunate. Direct “signs” or divine “alarm clocks” are hard to come by. Truthfully, most of us struggle to know when the time is right (or wrong) to make hard decisions about relationships, child rearing, marriage, changing jobs, closing chapters, or moving homes. After three years of sermons, miracles, deep conversations, and even the resurrection from the dead, Jesus’ disciples still asked Him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6, NIV) If there ever was a “time” for Jesus to respond with a “face palm,” that was it. Rather, Jesus kindly answered, “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” (Acts 1:7, NIV) We still live in that shell of uncertainty today.

What Time is It?

If it is hard to know when, it can be even harder to know how. But we do know why.

The prophet of old Isaiah promised, “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40: 29-31, NIV)

If you are obsessive about punctuality (like me), I have some bad news: God is usually not early.

But if you struggle with punctuality, I have great news: God is never late.

God does not operate with a watch, but God has perfect timing, “For you see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6, NIV)

My friend, waiting for God’s direction in life’s most complicated decisions is never easy, but it is always worth it.

God’s time is perfect. My Fauxlex, however, is another issue.

Speaking of that, could you tell me the time?

 

Jacob Hawk, PhD, serves the Prestoncrest Church of Christ in Dallas, Texas. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Bible and Ministry from Harding University and a Ph.D. in Christian Leadership from Liberty University. He is the author of five books: Image of the Invisible God; The Hawk’s Nest: 90 Lessons for Faith and Family; When Mountains Won’t Move: How to Survive a Struggling Faith; Blinded by Darkness; and BOLD: Statements that Changed History. Jacob produces a weekly podcast, Road Talk: Navigating Your Journey, which airs weekly out of his office. To follow along with Jacob Hawk’s writing and speaking ministry, visit www.drjacobhawk.com

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