Our Times are in His Hands

The late Pete Seeger took Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 and arranged it into a song but before he could get into the studio to record it, a group called The Limelighters did. One of the musicians for that session was a guitarist by the name of Roger McGuinn.  McGuinn helped arrange the song for Judy Collins’ album the following year. In 1964, he formed a group called The Byrds and in ’65 they recorded the song we know as Turn, Turn, Turn. It’s one of those songs that’s intergenerational and has been featured in movies (Forrest Gump), as well as television (The Wonder Years), and covered by lots of people. The song is about embracing the seasons (changes) of life as the opening line suggests—To everything (turn, turn, turn), there is a season (turn, turn, turn), and a time to every purpose under heaven.

As you make your way through John’s gospel, you notice that John frequently includes statements about Jesus’ time (His “hour” – 2:4, 7:30, 8:20, 12:23, etc.). In fact, you can divide his gospel in two:  the first eleven chapters (before His time has come), and the last ten chapters (when His time has come). Throughout it all, we see that Jesus was content to wait upon God. There was no sense of hurry, scurry, and worry with Him that often characterizes us. This seems especially significant when consider the fact that no one in the history of mankind had had more important work to do than Jesus. Yet He lives His life with a sense of calm, peace, and purpose because He knew God was in control of everything—including time.

World magazine recently told the story of Dr. Edward West, a pediatrician. On April 28, 1976, West was a checking on a patient in the newborn nursery at a hospital in Charleston, S.C.  While he was there, a baby born at 32 weeks stopped breathing and West was called upon. He had received training in resuscitating premature infants and went to work. He administered mouth to mouth-and-nose, and placed four fingers under the baby’s back while doing chest compressions with his thumb. It worked. The infant survived but was immediately transferred to a nearby hospital that was better equipped to take care of its needs and remained under hospital care for several months before going home.  West never even learned the baby’s name.

Meanwhile, a group of pediatricians came in and wanted to know why Dr. West hadn’t been at the meeting that had just concluded. He told them he hadn’t known about the meeting.  Out of all of those pediatricians, West was the only one who had training in resuscitating premature infants. It’s interesting that he was also the only one who didn’t know about the meeting.

Dr. West was recounting this story to some nurses in a neonatal unit last January as they were anxiously awaiting the birth of a 26 week old infant. He mentioned that he thought a local paper had covered the story. Michelle Fulton, a neonatal nurse who had known Dr. West for about five years, stopped what she was doing and asked if he remembered the name of the article. He said he thought it was something like, The Million Dollar Baby (due to the medical bills). She said that wasn’t right, it was The Miracle Baby and she knew the baby’s name—Peggy Sanders. Her full name was Peggy Michelle Sanders and her married name was—Michelle Fulton. Thirty-seven years after her birth (and near death), Michelle Fulton finally “met” the doctor who had saved her life—and she had been working with him for five years!

Whether it’s Jesus, Dr. Edward West, Michelle Fulton, you, or me, God has a time for everything and He knows exactly what He’s doing. “But I trust in you, Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.My times are in your hands” (39:14-15). 



Published by A Taste of Grace with Bruce Green

I grew up the among the cotton fields, red clay and aerospace industry of north Alabama. My wife and I are blessed with three adult children and five grandchildren.

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