Monday, August 8, 2016

The Countdown

Recently, I was speaking in a church that had three Sunday morning services. For each service hundreds of people would gather for worship. In order to move that many people in and out of their facility it required a great deal of organization, timing and administrative wisdom. As I sat waiting for the second service to begin, I looked up at the two large screens at the front of the sanctuary and noticed a digital display in large numbers giving a countdown before the start of the next service. 

Looking up at the screens, I noticed a readout taking place, 3:10… 3:09… 3:08… 3:07…all the way down to 0:00. At about the one minute mark the worship team walked out and took their places. When 0:00 was displayed the drummer hit his drums and the first song began. It was a beautiful time of worship and then I got up to preach.  As the clock displayed the countdown, I began to process something.

When I first noticed the countdown clock it was displaying 3:10. I thought, “What if I only had 3:10 minutes of life left and when the clock hit 0:00 it was all over. For just a millisecond I tried to think of something I could do, but then immediately entertained another option. I slowed my breathing down and assumed a posture of rest.  As I did this, the Lord affirmed this is how He wants each of us to live when any clock tells us to rush, worry or scramble to make something happen. When the lessening of time compels us to push and hurry, our best alternative is to simply rest. In limited time you really can’t do much anyway. Why not choose to rest? Maybe resting is actually your assignment.

Something powerful happened to me as I sat there waiting for the worship service to begin. The more the countdown clock ticked away the remaining seconds the more at peace I became. That peace came because the time demands of this realm are not the clock upon which we are supposed set the pace of our lives. While some will look at the lessening of time as something to fear and overcome through striving, God wants us to allow His presence to fill us with a strange peace that is only available to those whose life-clock ticks to the timing of Heaven. This is a timing that never counts down in fear, but always counts up in hope.

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