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Me and Patrick at the coffee shop at camp

Our family just got home from Family Camp at Fort Wilderness. Well, "just" as in 4 days ago. We're still unpacking and doing laundry and all that good stuff. With some more good effort, the living room should be reclaimed by tomorrow evening.

The speaker this week focused on "Time". His text was from Matthew 25:14-30 (the parable of the talents) as well as Psalm 90:12. His teaching was not unexpected and he made a number of good points about how we should consider time. Here are his main points with my thoughts about how they relate to chronic illness.

1. Time is a gift. God gives us each day. We are responsible for how we receive it. When I'm in pain, it's hard to remember that God means for me to have every moment. In the first chapter of Genesis God says several times, "And there was evening, and there was morning. The ____ day." God stands outside time, but he has given time to us. We exist in time and space, and we meet God in time. Even on our bad days, I am to accept the gift graciously.

2. Time is teleological. There is an end or purpose toward which time is moving. Time goes forwards. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says that God has "set eternity in the human heart." We long for eternity. When you wonder why you should bother to wake up tomorrow when you are in so much pain, this is why. God put in you and me a longing for eternity, a need for transcendence. Even in our pain, we live. No day is wasted. Even if you can't get out of bed, you can pray. You are loved by God. You do what God has put in your life for that day and move forward.

3. Time is something for which we will give account. Just like in the parable of the bags of gold (or talents), we are ultimately accountable to God with how we used our time. Notice that the rich man in the parable did not give all of his servants an equal amount of gold, but he was equally pleased with results from the servants who had been given 2 bags of gold and 5 bags of gold. God doesn't expect that everyone starts with the same advantages. Those of us with chronic illness will have to give account for how we used our time, but we get graded on a curve! But, God still expects us to use our time wisely. I don't have enough time in my life to work a job, but I can use the time I have to be of service, love others, and pray.

4 What we do with our time shows our spirituality. Is loving others at the top of my priority list? Do I take time to meditate and pray? And these are the kinds of things that are the same for those of us who have chronic illness and for everyone else. In fact, our spiritual disciplines may be more easily crowded out because we have so little "extra" time. But, it's important to remember that our time with Jesus is what makes us able to handle the rest of the day.

This was a great week for us as a family to spend time together, do new things (kayaking), and enjoy being away from home. But, of course, the migraines interfered. I had a migraine on the day we went to Fort that lasted through the next day. And then, another two days were pretty much wiped out by migraine. But, when I wasn't sleeping, I was enjoying the beauty of the Northwoods and savoring the precious family time.

How is handling time with your illness? Have you worked out all the kinks in the system? Do you still struggle with how to manage time and energy and illness?

Feel free to comment!!


This got me thinking, though, about how those of us with chronic illness relate to time. Psalm 90:12 says, "Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom."

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