Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I’d something more to say.

(Pink Floyd)

My mother-in-law received a letter from her doctor saying that life-expetancy for someone with her condition is 3 years from the time of diagnosis.  We are in the third year.

The clock ticked on past my 38th birthday on April 16th.

China is still holding our application to be parents.  We have a ‘log-in-date’ with them of August 16th 2006.

The English way is to hang on in quiet desperation (see above).  What is God’s way?


About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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8 Responses to Time

  1. ashleewilson says:

    After reading the lyrics of this song, I was so thankful that I have purpose in my life!  I can’t even imagine what it would be like to watch time slowly (or quickly) passing in my life and having no sense of purpose. 
    I’m not sure if I quite understand your question “What is God’s way.”  Are you talking about His sense of time?  Or the manner in which He waits? ….or did I miss your meaning all together?
    I fall so short in understanding God’s sense of time.  The passage of scripture that talks about a thousand years being as a day and a day being as a thousand years in the eyes of God has me thoroughly confused.  Time has always had a markable beginning and end in my eyes.  Eternity is such a deep concept to grasp.  But I know that God’s timing is perfect because that’s what His Word teaches. 
    There are so many times that I’ve wondered why God has had me go through period of long and anxious waiting in my life.  At the time, my timing seemed superior (or rather more convenient), but I just had to learn to trust that God’s ways were better than mine.  But I think the statement of waiting in “quiet desperation” is not how God has called us to wait. 
    In Titus 2:12+13, we are told that while we wait for the return of Christ, we are supposed to live “self-controlled, upright, and godly lives.”
    1 Thessalonians 5 tells us that we need to be “self-controlled and alert” and to “put on faith and love….and the hope of salvation.”
    2 Thessalonians 3 talks about how we need to be working and not idle while we wait for Christ. 
    Therefore, although we can’t, with our finite minds, grasp the timig of God, He has instructed us on how we should pass the time while we wait.  And even though the return of Christ should be what we are most anxious to happen, I believe we should apply these principles to whatever situations of waiting that we face.  We can’t get lost in the “quiet desperation” but rather should focus our actions towards glorifiying God and living out the plan He has purposed our lives for. 

  2. rookie1987 says:

    @ashleewilson – Well said.
    Salt and Light

  3. I agree that after hearing this song I am so thankful that I have something to live for. I think that God’s way of waiting is to be patient and trustful in him. In America today we often learn, either we are told or by our observations, that we should keep our thoughts to ourselves. I think that the Bible is very clear that it is ok to share what you are thinking. If something is weighing on your heart the best thing isn’t to keep it to yourself, but to share with a friend so that they can help you along. Even Jesus was not always upbeat and positive as most evangelical Christians think we should be today. The book of Isiah tells us that he was a man of sorrow. God’s way isn’t necessarily always silent and its not that we should always be happy. Rather, it is a life worth living because in the end we will see the king.

  4. servantofone says:

    Thoreau goes on to say, after the bit about the mass of men leading lives of desperation, “what is called resignation is confirmed desperation.” A bit later at the end of that section, he says “it is uncharacteristic of wisdom to do desperate things.” Whatever we want to think about Thoreau in general, he makes an excellent point at the end, one we do agree with; Scripture would agree that it is uncharacteristic of wisdom to do desperate things. Often, we do the desperate because we don’t have believe that God can work something out on his end and so we feel the need to live our lives in quiet desperation. A song in response to your question– one i used to know, with the chorus that i remember: your thoughts are higher than mine/ your words are deeper than mine/ your love is stronger than mine/ this is no sacrifice– here’s my lifeIsaiah 55:8,9 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. What does it all mean?We hold on… holding on to God is different from holding on in desperation. Wisdom doesn’t do things out of desperation– wisdom does things from a background of knowing who and how our God is, and that somehow, in the end, all the crazy end pieces are going to fit together. Knowing that God is capable of making mosaics from the crap of my life because he knows just which pieces to put next to which others in order to make things beautiful again, is perhaps the singular thing that has kept me going when i’d rather not have. and maybe that’s wrong… maybe there should have been something else there. but all i had was faith that God was a better artist than i and that he can make things work from media i wouldn’t know what to do with. what does it look like to do things God’s way? your mother-in-law has this beautiful understanding of how God has been faithful to her through every single other situation, and that builds the foundation for her being able to accept what’s happening now. there are parts of me that like to believe i’d be able to live through three years of a disease with as much grace as she showed when talking about it, but i’m not sure i could. God’s way, maybe, is not understanding what it’s going to take for me to be weak enough for God to be strong through me, but finding a way to believe (while asking him to help my unbelief) that he’s going to find a way to make what i see as ashes, beautiful.

  5. Heshewethree says:

    First of all, I thought I recognized that symbol even before I read the text. I have recently discovered that a lot of what we define as wasted or lost time, is defined for us by society. In God’s definition, it might be proving.
    For instance…is it a waste of time for me to call a man I clearly enjoy spending time with, simply because my friends say that it is encumbent on the man to do the calling…at least once per week if he’s truely interested? So I wasted 2-3 weeks, deprived of his company, fretting over “is he really interested…if so how much, or how much does he want me in his life? And then I think…well…I really don’t know why he ever called me in the first place…I don’t know what the draw is, or the attraction for him is…so then I don’t feel like I’m on sturdy ground, and I don’t want to wear out my welcome, so for this reason also…I don’t call.
    Finally, I’ve worked myself up into such a fearful place, unnecessarily, I might add, because I think that I’m relationally/dating challenged that I’m in tears asking God what’s going on, and He simply says to me…trust in Me…not in man. So then I ask Him what do I do, because I really want to see this man, and spend time with him, and in actuality…the holdup to this enjoyment is me, myself and I. God says, “Forget all of that foolishness. Trust Me. Call him.”
    I call him, and ask how he’s doing, and his response…”Peachy!” (I don’t know of too many men who say they are doing “peachy,” so I have to believe he was happy/thrilled to hear from me.) He invites me over for dinner again, both today and tomorrow. And here I was, wasting all this time fretting because of some society/peer induced pressure about what I, as a woman, was supposed to expect a man I was dating to do. It’s really stupid, and I’ve decided that I don’t wish to live that way.
    I don’t think it’s the English way only…I think it’s the way of many who live in fear. Quiet desperation is perhaps the catch phrase of this day and time…the motto of the masses, but I don’t choose to live like that. I gotta trust God with everything, especially my emotions. Peace and blessings.

  6. One day I will come to the realization that my heart will stop beating, my body will reach an end — however this has no effect on MY end, it simply signals the beggining.
    2 Corinthians 5:1– Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed (our transient earthly existence), we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands (a permanent, glorious, inifinitely blessed existence in heaven).
    Forgive me for quoting poet Billy Collins, but ” I was even thinking a little about the future, that place where people are doing a dance we cannot imagine, a dance whose name we can only guess.” The Apostle Paul continues in 2 Corinthians to tell us that to be absent with the body is to be present with the Lord, and that we should make it out goal to please Him in either location.
    “Quiet desperation” sometimes seems to be the only viable option that keeps both composure and reputation intact. However, God’s way seems to indicate an alternate route.
    Matthew 6:33 seems like a good place to start. “Seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and [THEN] all these things shall be added unto you.” And ohhhh it’s not gonna be easy. David had to kill a giant with a rock; Hosea had to marry a whore; Paul had to praise God behind prison bars. God’s glory and kingdom come first, but he promises to love us and bring us through it (Rom. 8:39).
    We have to exchange the safety and respectability that comes with ‘quiet desperation’ in exchange for humility and gentleness.
    —Brittany Schoppen

  7. Ssparling says:

    Time has never been my friend. There are never enough hours in the day and there is always to much to do. Getting caught up in the business of life with the grocery lists a mile long of deadlines to meet and people to see, it is a never ending cycle of chaos. Overwhelming and consuming, it would be so easy to drown beneath this sea of routine and go through life numb and without really living. My father is approaching his sixtieth birthday and he laments on how if he could turn back the hands of time, he would go back and do things so differently. Caught up in the responsibility of providing for his family, he devoted himself to his work and began to ignore his growing family. He would come home exhausted and seek solace in his room where he would watch the game and unwind, alone. As we grew up and moved out of the house, he has realized the opportunity that he lost and the time that was wasted when he could have been investing in our lives. His regret has become a key part of his identity, but it is so important that as his daughter, I remind him that God has given him more time to build into his kids lives and that it is not to late. God gives us each new day as a gift that we decide what to do with. We can simply go through our lives without ever really living, or we can live life to the fullest as God has planned from the beginning of time.

  8. As I was reading these lyrics, I immediately reverted back to those times at home when I did just waste time. It was spending timeless hours playing computer games or watching movies for amusement that occupied much of my time. I had no purpose, so it did not matter to me what I did. I thought life would go on forever. Then, the Lord used a sermon on James 4:14 as a wake-up call. It reads: “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” That was a huge influence in my spiritual walk. I turned back to God after years of becoming more distant. Now that I do have motivation, calling, dreams, I try to do everything as it relates to what I believe pleases God. Growing up with a workaholic dad has made me feel like I always have to be doing something, but since coming to Moody God has shown me that sometimes just reflecting is the wisest choice of how to spend my time. While I was taught that you always have to be doing something and look like you are doing something, I have come to learn that using my mind even when watching movies can be a productive activity. When it says to “redeem the time” because the days are evil, I no longer believe that this means to always look like you are a productive person, but to be constantly engaging your mind in a world where that is not common. I am thankful for how the Lord gives me grace when figuring out how best to use the days He has given me on this earth.

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