Enough or Too Much Time?

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Matthew 10:28~

Some of us get more of it than others. None of us knows exactly when it will end for us. We complain that there is not enough of it. Or that there is too much between where we are and what we want.

Some people even say it’s an illusion. But illusory or real, it binds us all.

Time never seems to do what we want it to do. But how to use it is up to us–even in the worst of circumstances.

Natan Sharansky spent nine years in Soviet prisons and camps. He experienced many days in a punishment cell–with little food or warmth. He underwent hunger strikes that weakened his heart.

He endured.

Sharansky filled his solitary time thinking. He devised chess strategies. He filled his mind with memories of loved ones. He resisted the urge to trust those who had taken his freedom.

Consistently, doggedly, he refused to cooperate with the KGB. He did nothing that would ease or shorten his time in captivity. He understood that cooperation was a snare that would never end.

Sharansky watched others. One worked to shorten his time but worked too well. He did not receive his promised release. He had bought a lie and kept doing time.

“During these years, I have met people who have been weakened from constant disappointments. They continually created new hopes for themselves, and as a result, they betray themselves. Others live in the world of illusions . . . in order to prevent real life from ultimately destroying it.”

Sharansky came to a conclusion:

“It’s best if you are left with only one hope–the hope of remaining yourself no matter what happens” (Sharansky 370-71).

Sharansky realized early on in his experiences with the KGB that “nothing they did could humiliate me. I could only humiliate myself–by doing something I might later be ashamed of” (8).

Later on, in freedom, Sharansky realized a great irony:

“In the punishment cell, life was much simpler. Every day brought only one choice: good or evil, white or black, saying yes or no to the KGB. I had all the time I needed to think about these choices, to concentrate on the most fundamental problems of existence, to test myself in fear, in hope, in belief, in love. And now, lost in thousands of mundane choices, I suddenly realize that there’s no time to reflect on the bigger questions” (418).

Each of us today will make a thousand mundane choices.

For the most part, we have spent our lives distracted by a world filled with such choices–voices drowning out the important.

What will we choose today?

Today, ponder the big things. Test yourself in fear, hope, belief, love.

Jesus tells us not to fear those who can kill our bodies. To find our hope and belief in Him. To follow Him, loving Him and all around us.

He holds time. He knows how long our time is. He knows what is real, what is illusion.

In our allotted time, we face challenges and sacrifice. With our trust in Him, we can find purpose and peace.

Peace no one can take away.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

28 Replies to “Enough or Too Much Time?”

  1. This is such a great post, Nancy! Time is indeed a unique gift, where a lot can seem like a little and vise versa, where it can seem like a good thing or a tedious thing. We use it, we kill it when we’re bored, keep it when we make music … And in America we waste so much of it, because, as you say, there are endless distractions to take our minds in a million different directions. We even have a name for the struggle for some of us – ADD.
    I’ve heard that as we are praying for persecuted believers in other countries, they are praying for us. More than one has commented that it’s harder to be a faithful follower of Christ in our culture than theirs. Not all of Satan’s work is painful.

  2. This is a wonderfully truth-filled post, Nancy! Learning to say no(!) to all the enticements the enemy sends our way, through all of the helper-channels he has developed, is a hard-won skill. Thank God that Jesus has freed us from the external power of these things by granting us life eternal, and for His aid to us internally by giving us the truth about them!

  3. “Sharansky realized early on in his experiences with the KGB that “nothing they did could humiliate me. I could only humiliate myself–by doing something I might later be ashamed of” (8).” What a powerful thought! We too have an enemy who tries to shame us. Great post.

    1. Thank you, Deb. It’s a powerful moment in his book when he is deprived of clothing in front of others–including a woman. God bless!

  4. Our time is a gift God has given us. He tells us to redeem the time because the days are evil. It is too easy to forget this and not use our time to glorify Him. Thanks for this inspiring story.

    1. It’s hard to find the balance between using time in rest and wasting time. We glorify Him in rest and work. We dishonor Him in wasted time. We harm ourselves by not resting enough. Making sure we have time to ponder what is important is key. Thanks, Barbara. God bless!

  5. So true what you say–how we use our time is up to us–even in the worst of circumstances. One of my favorite quotes/kernels of wisdom is from Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning: “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Great piece, Nancy. Thank you for sharing Sharansky’s story.

    1. I put a quote on the board daily for my students. That’s one I’ve used several times. Thanks for reading and commenting, Jessica. God bless!

  6. Nancy, thank you for sharing this remarkable story. Time is indeed a gift. Your post reminds me not to waste it by even thinking about unimportant things. I appreciate this statement: “In our allotted time, we face challenges and sacrifice. With our trust in Him, we can find purpose and peace.”

  7. All those decisions everyday and how many times do we consult God for His answers. Very thought provoking post.

  8. Powerful message, Nancy. This, “For the most part, we have spent our lives distracted by a world filled with such choices–voices drowning out the important.”

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: