Time is a fascinating subject. In one dictionary there are twenty-nine separate noun usages for the word “time” and several as a verb. There are many phrases we use with reference to time: “all in good time”; “behind the times”; “bide your time”; “for old time’s sake”; “for the time being”; “from time to time”; “make time”; “be on time”; “pass the time”; “take our time”; “time will tell”; “time flies”; “time heals”. What we do or do not get done with time can cause stress. Time is something we are to do something with rather than allowing it to control us. Time is a gift and every person is given the same amount of time daily. Knowing this should motivate us to live meaningfully and purposefully every day rather than “waste” or “pass” the time. This does not mean we should be busy 24/7, but we want and need to make valuable use of each moment given on earth because it equates into something meaningful for eternity. There are several erroneous beliefs about time giving it more power than it should have.
For example it seems the older we get the faster time goes by. This of course is not true because time is constant, it just “is”. But where there were once lazy days of summer as children, as adults we now have the hectic days of summer when we try to pack in as much as possible. Summers seemed to go on endlessly when I was young whereas today, it seems they barely get started and the autumn leaves are already starting to change color (in the Midwest). The truth is time has not changed, we change. Let us not give “time” the power to create hectic lifestyles.
Or how about the seeming increase in rapidity of time when we have children? We experience how quick the first year of life seems to pass by as we excitedly encourage our children to crawl, walk, and talk, then feel dismay because of how quickly they develop. It seems we do everything possible to demonstrate how precocious our children are but then grieve the loss of their simplicity. We quickly learn with subsequent children to “take our time” perhaps not encouraging them quite so profusely in their desire to crawl, walk, and talk, but rather enjoy their dependence as long as possible. Sensing time passing quickly in these scenarios should cause us to carpe diem, seize the day, living in the present, using our time wisely rather than letting it pass by or grieving the loss of time.
I want to focus on a cliché, supposedly comforting, but still untrue “Time heals all wounds.” Anyone who has gone through deep wounding (accounting for a majority if not the entire human race) knows time does not heal, yet we continue to use the phrase. Time is something which passes, something here this minute and gone the next only to be replaced by more time. Time, in and of itself is not an active force that does anything for us. It cannot change, control, use, or heal us. We are the active force which does something with time. We are to use our time wisely, manage our time, and be good stewards of time.
Many years ago, one precious elderly man would visit my husband at church and simply sit and cry. His wife had died seven years earlier and the sadness and loneliness still lingered. He felt foolish since he believed time should heal his broken heart but the truth was he still hurt and needed to receive the love and healing only Jesus could provide. He was married for over sixty years so this wound was not going to heal overnight or even in seven years especially if he “only believed” time would heal. Once the “time” element was removed giving him permission to cry and hurt with no time limit, he let Jesus bring intimacy. He still missed his wife and longed to see her again, but his time for healing had come. He learned to live in the moment, facing his pain, rather than allowing time to pass each day believing it would heal, when in reality it only continued to pass because that is what time does. It is here and then gone. In itself, time has no healing powers.
The danger in waiting for time to heal all wounds is that we neglect to deal with the root of the wound. Believing time heals, we actually believe that “in time” the hurt will go away all by itself. Instead, we must determine to face our giant (hurt) and then make better “use” of our time by seeking the only One who can bring true healing.
Perhaps we do not believe time heals, but we might still believe it “lessens” the pain of our wounds. However, relying on this notion and not dealing with the cause of our pain at some point, leaves the wound hidden as time simply continues to pass. If wounds exist but are buried, left unattended, or unresolved, eventually they roar their ugly head and quickly take us right back to the moment we experienced the pain be it death, sickness, divorce, gossip, distrust, or some other wound. We find ourselves as hurt and broken as initially, left wondering after all this time how the hurt can be so powerful. Thus when we think time will ease the pain we are only pushing the pain deeper, deceived into thinking the pain is lessening.
Although time does not heal or lessen pain, there is a relationship between time and healing. In Ecclesiastes 3:1 it says “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven…” This is great news which should bring joy, patience, and expectation. Knowing there is an appointed time for everything, including healing, causes us to look for what is going to happen when that time comes rather than simply wait for the wound to disappear over time. A time has been appointed by God for healing.
In Ecclesiastes 3 “time” is referred to twenty times to describe life as a beautiful mosaic of times and seasons revealing there is a predestined time for everything. There is a specific, appointed time to hurt and there is a specific, appointed time to be healed. The word “appointed” occurs only four times in the Old Testament. Two times it is in reference to a feast and once in reference to a set time of return from a journey. Here it is used to specify an exact time for something to happen. By adding the word “appointed” before the word “time” God is adding specificity of time and seasons. In other words, God is revealing to us there is a limit to everything in this world. There is nothing perpetual, nothing which lasts indefinitely or forever on earth in contrast to those things which exist for eternity. God is saying there is a specific moment in time for everything. Everything includes healing. There is an appointed time for healing to come, but the emphasis is on the appointed time, not the passing of time. When the appointed time comes, healing occurs. Time does not heal the wound. God heals wounds but a passage of time is necessary because appointed times are set.
Ecclesiastes continues to emphasize a set time when GOD decides something is finished. In 3:17 it says “I said to myself, God will judge both the righteous man and the wicked man, for a time for every matter and for every deed is there.” And in 8:6 “For there is a proper time and procedure for every delight (matter) when a man’s trouble is heavy upon him.”
When our hearts are heavy we take comfort and get strengthened knowing there is a proper time and procedure for matters to be solved or for healing to occur. Ecclesiastes 8:5 reveals a wise heart knows or discerns the proper time and procedure therefore as wise people of God, we do not wait for time to heal our wounds but rather we wait on God in confidence knowing, discerning, and believing the Lord our God heals at the appointed time.
Hosea 6:1 gives a wonderful example of what to do while we wait for the appointed time. “Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day that we may live before Him. Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.”
We do not need to sit back and wait believing time heals all wounds. Knowing there is an appointed time, we now need to “spend our time” responding to the invitation and privilege of returning to the Lord knowing He will heal, bandage, revive, and raise us up. We have a responsibility to press on to know the Lord! I hope you see it! Time does not heal! The Lord our God is the One who heals. It is time for the body of Christ to proclaim loud and clear our God heals; Time does not heal all wounds -Only God heals ALL wounds!