Living on borrowed time

“You are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”   - Colossians 3:3

By Sue Maakestad

I'm a compulsive note taker. After years of practice, I can now capture most of a sermon on the page as it's being delivered.

While this creates the illusion that I'm a terrific listener, the sad truth is that it's a defense mechanism to counteract my abysmal lack of memory.

On most days I can't recall what I had for breakfast – let alone the wonderful truths that came across the pulpit that morning.

Just ask me and I'll tell you it was an awesome message – now what was it about, again?

Sadly, though, without going through the exercise of writing it down, my retention rate would be far worse.

The pen is also my survival tool at home, where I make a note of every breath I will take today, or it will never happen.

In fact, I lay out my strategy for the entire week, and have rushed back to Wal-Mart in a cold sweat more than once to rescue that vital document from some random produce bin.

She who lives by the list shall also surely die by the list.

We list-makers tend to buy into the illusion that we are in control of our plans. It's a bubble easily burst by the first daily phone interruption or the larger unforeseen crisis that obliterates half the month.

As Plan A gives way to Plan Z, the list rewrite soothes the soul as we snuggle deep into the false security of the calendar once more.

But at the end of the day, it really is an illusion.

Jesus said: “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature?” (Matthew 6:27).

“Don't swear by your head because you can't make one hair white or black” (Matthew 5:36).

That kind of brings things into perspective, don't you think?

Let's consider acts of God, for a moment. The insurance industry only classifies a full-on disaster as an act of God.

But the very fact that the insurance agent opened his eyes and drove to his office is an act of God. Your ability to inhale your next breath is an act of God.

And this is the same loving God who reminds us to treat people with grace and mercy so we can be just like Him – children of our Father in heaven “who makes His sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).

When I gave my life to Jesus, I put it all in His hands. He became the owner of my life and the caller of the shots. That means that every moment of my life is now His property. Every year. Every month. Every week. Every day, hour, minute, and second. Am I trusting Him with my every second?

Because right this second, my life is in His hands, and He is more than trustworthy.

So right this second, I could choose to rest in Him and be blessed... or I could grab my pencil and make feverish attempts at planning out my existence.

Don't get me wrong. If anyone believes in plans, it's me, and God blesses us with at least some degree of brains and foresight in order to make those plans.

But my verse to live by in this regard is found in Proverbs 19:21: “There are many plans in a man's heart; nevertheless the Lord's counsel – that will stand.”

So here's the secret: submit your plans to God, then grab hold of Him and trust Him to make or break them so they’ll fit His plans.

I know that I'm a mess, regardless of how together I may appear on the surface. And that's my secret weapon, because God's strength is perfected in my weakness – which pretty much means all of me. Any lucid moments, flashes of intellect, or accomplishments are acts of God.

Andre Crouch put it perfectly: Just let me live my life so it is pleasing, Lord, to Thee; And should I gain any praise, let it go to Calvary.

The Bible says that “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

Pick me, God! Pick me!

Why would I ever want to do this myself? I’ll tell you why: because I could buy into the illusion that I actually can. Step back, God, I got this.

So much for my loyalty to Him. I don't think so.

The Bible tells me to trust in the Lord and do good; to dwell and feed on God’s faithfulness; to trust in Him and He will bring it to pass; and not to fret because it only causes harm (Psalm 37:3,5,8).

So here's my game plan: I’ll remember the simple truth that I'm dust and He's God; that I'm living on borrowed time because every second belongs to Him.

   Next, I’ll quit grabbing things back away from Him and trust Him to keep it all and make it turn out better than my pathetic best.

  Because the more I admit to my mess, seek His guidance, and trust and lean on His strength, help, and direction, the more I win! I grow and get blessed, and the blessing flows out to others in need.

  “Every morning I get up and get my coffee and my paper, and I open up to the obituaries,” said an elderly preacher I used to know. “And if I don’t see my name there, I get happy all over again.”

Every day is a gift from the loving hand of God, and when we remember that we’re not the source of it — that He’s blessed us with yet another 24 hours — maybe we’ll realize how awesome it is that He’s made us part of His plan and ask Him what He has in mind today, for a change.

When God met Jacob at the end of his proverbial rope, the patriarch-to-be had the smarts to chuck all of his grand plans, grab hold of God, and hang on tight for the ride of his life.

When I gave my life to Jesus, I put it all in His hands. He became the owner of my life and the caller of the shots. That means that every moment of my life is now His property.

Jacob walked away from his very personal encounter that day with his hip out of joint and a limp that he kept for the rest of his life.

But he got his blessing: a new identity through the grace of God and a victorious script for the rest of his journey.

Somehow I think Jacob gloried in his limp; it reminded him that he was God’s prince and that God wanted to partner with him in every plan his future might hold.

I want to keep revisiting my limp.  

I want to be very aware that every second is a gift of God, and I want to trust Him with my every today and tomorrow.

I want to remind myself of how blessed I am to be called His child, His friend, and His partner in all that He plans to do in the earth.

I want to remember Who calls the shots, and rejoice in His provision, care, and grace as I put my simple childlike faith into gear and trustmy every borrowed moment to my heavenly Daddy.