I finally have the grandfather clock calibrated...almost. At least it chimes on (or almost on) the correct hour. Now if I can only get the hours on the clock to match the hours of the day, we'll be golden. This delicate maneuvering I hadn't counted on when I first tackled this project. It will take a bit more fine tuning, and then adjusting the pendulum so it doesn't gain or lose time over the course of a week. Winding it however, is a bit easier than our antique school and mantle clocks which need to be wound with keys. A grandfather clock has weights suspended from chains that engage the mechanisms. A steady pull on the chains once a week, and we're in business!
Occasionally as I tend the clocks I think of the Scripture that says, "my times are in thy hands." (Psalm 31:15). When I was a boy attending Vacation Bible School at Westside Baptist Church, our class one particular summer was held in the balcony of the sanctuary. Chuck Bassett was the teacher, back then a young father who gave up vacation time to teach a class of preteen boys in a sweltering church loft. The craft that went with the lesson that particular day was a wooden clock face inscribed with the words of that Psalm. I couldn't tell you any specifics of the that lesson, but I've never forgotten the craft nor the Psalm.
Periodically throughout my life I've missed opportunities, failed to take appropriate action at the right time, and generally let slip through my fingers many blessings simply by not paying attention to the time. There are enough of these experiences that I could become quite discouraged by it all were it not for this simple statement of the Scriptures. No matter how badly I muff the situation, God is still in control. We are not like modern clocks that adjust automatically by satellite, always accurate, always spot-on. For whatever reason, God made us more like these old wind up mechanical clocks that need continual attention and fiddling to keep them running properly. God didn't just plug us in and let us go. He continually attends to us, adjusting here and there, winding us up when we get run down; always checking and listening for the steady rhythm of our hearts. Of course, all this is subsequent to the complete rebuilding he initiates in us when we repent of our sins and trust in Christ. It does no good to fiddle with a clock that is seized up or needing a complete overhaul. Neither does God putter around the edges of our lives. He is in the business of transforming us till we reflect his own image to all Creation. It's a tall order, and in this world, the work never ends. But just as I derive great satisfaction from hearing the steady tick-tock of my clocks, I believe God smiles when he finally gets us running right on time.