Time is a strange thing. Although it is measured by steady tick tocks of the clock, it can seem to go fast or slow, depending on what we're waiting for. The Greeks had two different words for it. Chronos is regular time, one minute after another; chronology, if you will. Then there was kairos, which denoted special time, like when something happens at just the right time.
I started reading the prophet Daniel this morning, and noticed how important time was to him. In the first chapter, Nebuchadnezzar appointed a time for the captives he had chosen to appear before him. In the second chapter when the king's astrologers and magicians were unable to tell him not only the interpretation, but also the actual substance of the dream he had, he accused them of stalling for time and looking for an opportune time to undermine his authority (vv. 8-9). His order to have all his advisers executed and his later command to have everyone bow before the statue he had erected revealed his belief that his authority was somewhat tenuous. When Daniel got wind of the matter, he knew he needed to seek God's help so he asked for...you guessed it...time. Later in the book, he speaks of "time, times, and half a time," a prophetic allusion to events yet to come.
We live today in perilous times, but that could be said of most times in human history. Wars, pestilence, famines, and uncertainty are more the norm than the relatively easy time we have had here in the Americas in the twentieth and now twenty-first centuries. That easy time may be coming to an end, as we see Christian faith coming under increasing attack in the public sphere. But as yet, we still have time, and are told in Scripture to use it wisely, for we never know when it will run out. I am grateful tonight for time; time I was able to invest in prayer and Bible study this morning, time to grout the backsplash in the kitchen, and time with our grandchildren through the evening. And I am grateful for the times in which we live, and the opportunities they give us to shine brightly in the darkness of this sad world.