Something about borrowed time
My phone rang at 6.29am. It was the second call out to work during the night. In the haze from my bed to the car, I managed some calculations. The insufficient ‘sleep gap’ between the two call outs meant a pretty sweet deal once I’d gone in for this emergency; it meant that I’d scored that full day off work.
Starting the ignition, I started planning how that day might look. By the end of my street, my plan was concrete: breakfast at my favourite cafe, food shopping, running, house cleaning, seeing a friend, baking and changing the smoke alarm batteries. The sort of day that never shows its head.
When I got to work, it was winks all around; no words just winks. The hour of work we had in front of us before the day staff arrived to take over was sweet. There was anticipation in the air; the whole day ahead had opened up. It was luxurious and exciting.
After we had farewelled the happy couple along with the baby they’d just welcomed into the world, a group of us huddled in the car park and exchanged our plans for the day. Trips to Bunnings were popular, along with general gardening, landscaping and odd jobs that had been put off for a while.
The eagerness was tangible. Nailing the unfavourable odd jobs were now seemingly okay; even met with enthusiasm and gratefulness. It’s like they were getting done in someone else’s time.
‘Borrowed time’, I think, is valuable because ‘time’ itself is precious. To be given an extension or gift of more of it is welcomed because it can’t be manufactured or bought. We lack control over it; it just keeps rolling on.
Borrowed time may exceed expectations, like when a person with a terminal illness is re-dealt their estimated ‘time remaining’. It re- frames perspective and provides an opportunity take stock of that which is in credit to us.
Borrowed time may also go beyond what feels ‘earned’ (probably like the day I got off work). Either way, people place value on the gifted time. There’s a gratefulness about it.
“Don’t take any of this for granted. Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus, you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”
In the set time we have on earth, there’s a pretty guaranteed deal: the ageing process will take over. Biologically we’re configured to deteriorate, and then at some point, finish life on earth. The quality of life lived within that timeframe may be the product of the decisions we make and stuff out of our control: the usual highs and lows, achievements, disappointments and milestones. But biologically, time is running out.
Spiritually, the deal is upside down. Once the inability to find ultimate fulfilment and purpose in our short time on earth is accepted, borrowed time awaits. It’s the time where the law of deterioration and decline is met with redemption and renewal. In this, hope can be owned and known, provided by God in the person of Jesus. This kind of time is timeless – an eternity. It’s a gift, and it starts as soon as we’re ready. For me, it was at the age of 20.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Borrowed time means we’re given access to the hope that endures life circumstances; with prospects beyond earth promised to surpass, even this. Like the picture of us huddled in the car park, we’re in on a great deal; one where we’re given much more than a day.
“…that you who believe in God’s Son will know beyond the shadow of a doubt that you have eternal life, the reality and not the illusion.
To discover the extent of His goodness takes us into eternity.
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