A Sad Misunderstanding Of Time

Monday, June 13, 2022
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"1 (Lyrics)

Psalm 39:4-5 – Lord, let me know my end, and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight. Surely everyone stands as a mere breath. (NRSV)

I almost blew it! My first year at university was nearly a disaster. Midway through the first month away from home, I was introduced to a temptation that became an addictive drug in my veins. The more that I tried it, the more addicted that I became! No, it's not true confession time from a reformed addict — because I am still addicted! I became addicted to reading, which would have been fine if it had anything to do with my overwhelming course load, but no, I was addicted to Tolkien — specifically The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings in all three volumes — and anything else that I could get my hands on. And I read. And the time flew by. And I continued to read, night and day, day and night.

There is a riddle in The Hobbit that saved me from blowing all my time on reading and losing my first semester altogether. Here it is:

    This thing all things devours:
    Birds, beast, trees, flowers;
    Gnaws iron, bites steel;
    Grinds hard stones to meal;
    Slays king, ruins town,
    And beats high mountain down.

I got it right away, but Bilbo Baggins, the Tolkien character, took a little longer. The answer? Time.

R.S. Thomas' poem, The Brighter Field, captures this remarkably well:

    Life is not hurrying on to a receding future nor hankering after an imagined past. It is the turning aside like Moses to the miracle of the lit bush, to a brightness that seemed as transitory as your youth once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

We need a road before us and a way opening that leads us ever nearer to the heart of God and the way of our Lord Jesus Christ — a road that may lead us past burning bushes and revelations and wonders unsurpassed. There is much that reminds me of the road less travelled in this concept:

    Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
    And sorry I could not travel both
    And be one traveler, long I stood
    And looked down one as far as I could
    To where it bent in the undergrowth;

We might dearly wish to travel more than one road at a time, but that is not the destiny that awaits us. Life is about choice, about making the decisions of the day that transform the day and take us to "God-knows-where". And that is precisely where we want to go — to where God knows and to where God wants us, and to that place to which we have been called from the beginning of time.

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.
           – Robert Frost

A day awaits us ready to be filled with all the fullness of Christ. It is our time to follow the road less travelled, the way of Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Lord, help us this day to embrace the time that You give us, time to find the road that You place before us, time to follow the One Who is the way, the truth, and life itself. Amen.

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About the author:

Kenn Stright <kennethstright@yahoo.ca>
West Petpeswick, Nova Scotia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you.

    Clever weaving. Inspiring.

    Thanks for sharing this encouraging word, Kenn.

    Lovely post. Thank you.

    Thank you, Kenn, for this challenging devotional. I, too, can while away the time by reading.

    Kenn, thanks for this good reminder for my Monday morning. I needed this for my week ahead, and beyond!

    Thanks for sharing your beautiful post, Kenn. May we all remember to take the road less travelled. God bless!

    Thanks Kenn, your addiction shows in your devotionals which reach out to us in our daily lives and are uplifting in all circumstances. Blessings.

    My 3rd year I met Tolkien! with similar addictive challenges!!

    Thank you, Kenn, for your most interesting devotional. I struggle with distractions, and it’s good to know that Jesus guides us along right paths. Psalm 23:3 NLT, the narrow road.

    Hi Kenn….Well written! Thank you! And of course …a time to every purpose under Heaven!

    Was it an addiction or healthy past time?
    Fortunately for me I encountered those works a little earlier. By university it was Dostoevsky. We sang the Frost poems to new music this year by Stephanie Martin, Canadian composer, and understudy of Healy Willen.

    Kenn, thank you, and thank you again for this article today. It fits exactly where I am at in this life, supposed to be retired, but so much busier that there seems no time to even do the essentials right.
    However, God is still in first place, and I related to the poems greatly.
    Blessings to you!

    Just wanted to say “Thanks” for today’s message. It reminded me of a note I posted on my refrigerator the source of which I have forgotten. It states, “No matter where you are in life, it’s never too late.”
    I will be sharing your devotional today with a number of people in my life.
    Cheers and thanks again.

    Good morning Kenn,
    Being retired, I have more time to enjoy and sometimes I enjoy curling up with a good book most of the day. I believe that this helps me stay on the path that God wants me on because it refreshes me to be there to shine His light into His World in different ways and at different times.
    I enjoyed your devotional with your different quotes and thoughts that they impart. May you enjoy your time on the right path. Blessings.

    Funny, I was thinking this morning, before the Lord in similar fashion. The choice is spending it with God, seeing what He is doing and joining in. Robert Frost is my favourite poet. There’s a line in another poem of his, the hired man apologizes for taking up too much of the Farmer’s wife’s time. She says: behind’s behind. I shan’t catch up in this world anyhow. The worst you can do is put me a little further behind. It helps me when I am under time pressure, having been raised with better late than never, but BETTER NEVER LATE!!! Thanks for your devotional. Blessings on your day.

    Hello Kenn
    Thank you for your devotional today.
    I have read the Hobbit also and fell in love with the character to the point of when we got a cat I named him Bilbo Baggins, because I knew he would be going on adventures also.
    I am thankful that the adventures I am on is with Jesus Christ. He keeps me safe, and He is faithful. Time is a precious gift for sure. May we all be sure not to waste it on things that are not of God!
    God bless.

    This devotion is so ( please excuse the pun!) “timely”!
    As we try to emerge from the years of relative isolation, staying home and zooming, doing FaceTime, ordering groceries online, driving only to parking lots for food pick-ups,
    it is almost a challenge to venture out again! We have had many hours to indulge ourselves in solitary ways!
    Our time IS finite ( being often reminded as I see contemporaries transitioning from this realm). Wasting it is a large error.
    May we seriously place our days in the keeping of the One who numbered them, taking nothing for granted.
    May we use them looking outward, beyond our narrow confines. May God’s tireless Grace enable us!
    Thank you for your thoughtful, challenging, poetic writings. always helpful!

    Very poignant Kenn!!! Something I needed to hear today and lately!!
    Blessings always.

    Thank you.

    Yes, Kenn. All true. Frost said, “The only way OUT is THROUGH.’

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