It's 3 p.m. on Friday. Liz has just finished a full day of classes, and she rushes back to her dormitory to pick up her gear for swim practice. After swim practice, she grabs a bite to eat before preparing for her religious education lesson tomorrow. Bible study is at 7:30 p.m., but she is nowhere near ready to teach her lesson. Perhaps she'll skip Bible study tonight...
It's now midnight, and Liz has managed to complete her preparation for tomorrow's lesson, but she's missed Bible study in the process. Exhausted, she gets down on her knees, mumbles a few words of thanks, and climbs into bed. She notices her Bible lying on the nightstand and decides that she'll read it tomorrow. After all, it is the Sabbath, and she'll be spending most of the day at church.
How many of us can relate to a situation like this? Many times, we feel that there isn't enough time in the day to get everything done. Timeâ€”it is something we all treasure, something we wish we had more of, but it just seems to slip so quickly through our fingers.
As students, we are often burdened with so much work that we tend to let go of things that are vital to our well-being: God and our faith. How many times have we pushed God away because of our busy schedules? How many times have we missed services because we had to write a paper? How many times have we rushed off to school without first giving thanks to God for another day to live and just mumbled a few words of thanks seconds before jumping into bed?
When we follow such a busy and hectic lifestyle, it is no wonder that God is often left out. We have lectures to attend, papers to write, and exams to take. How are we supposed to put it all together and find time for God in our busy lives?
This article will address the importance of making time for God, how to do so, and the results of making time for God.
Why Make Time for God?
To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven. (Eccl 3:1)
According to the words of wise King Solomon, there is a time for everything: a time to study and a time to play, a time to learn worldly knowledge and a time to gain spiritual wisdom. But it is up to us to set out that time, to use our time wisely and devote part of it to God.
Imagine that, week in and week out, our days begin at 8 a.m. and end at 12 a.m., with no time to talk to God except for a few seconds before bed. What would our faith and our relationship with God be like? It would probably be weak, if not nonexistent. Like any other relationship, we need to spend time with God in order to develop a closer and more personal relationship with Him.
In addition, setting aside time for God allows us to keep sight of what is importantâ€”our ultimate destination of the heavenly kingdom. Our faith has a direct impact on whether or not we can enter heavenâ€”and this is definitely worth making time for. Spending time with God not only impacts our ultimate goal, but it also makes a great difference in our daily lives. The following poem entitled "The Difference" illustrates how important it is for us to come into God's presence daily in order to gain strength and peace from Him. The busier we are and the larger our tasks, the more important it is to pray to the Lord.
I got up early one morning,
And rushed through the day;
I had so much to accomplish,
That I didn't have time to pray.
Problems just tumbled about me,
And heavier came each task;
"Why doesn't God help me?" I wondered,
He answered, "You didn't ask."
I wanted to see joy and beauty,
But the day toiled on gray and bleak;
I wondered why God didn't show me,
He said, "But you didn't seek."
I tried to come into God's presence,
I tried every key in the lock;
God gently and lovingly chided,
"My child, you didn't knock."
I woke up early this morning,
And paused before starting the day;
I had so much to accomplish,
That I had to take time to pray.
How to Schedule God in Our Lives
Make an Appointment with the Lord
A good way to put God in our lives is to make an appointment with Him each day. We should examine our lives and determine when the best time is for us to communicate with Him and to meditate on His words. For King David, it was in the morning and in the evening:
O God, You are my God:
Early will I seek You... (Ps 63:1)
When I remember You on my bed,
I meditate on You in the night
watches. (Ps 63:6)
In the morning, before we start our busy day, we can thank God for giving us another day to live, ask Him for guidance and protection, and ask for His help to make the day a fruitful and God-pleasing one. In the evening, before bed, we can review our day with the Lord, thank Him for the guidance and protection He gave us, and reflect on issues we encountered during the day.
Offer the Best Time in Your Day
For some people, morning and evening meetings with God may not work. The morning may be too earlyâ€”we're tired and grouchy, and it's hard to kneel down to pray. At night, we may be too tired after a long day's work, and all we want to do is just climb into bed.
We need to choose a time when we're not too tired and when our mind is clear to offer our best to Him. Just as Abel offered the best of his flock to the Lord, we need to offer the best time of our day to the Lord.
I finally managed to figure out the best routine for myself by my second year of university. Although I prayed morning and evening, they were usually short prayers. I felt that I needed to find a better time when I could really pray in-depth and meditate on the words of God.
I discovered that the best time for me was around 8 p.m. I studied and at dinner, and then it was time for God. Even if I was working on a paper, I would drop everything and give an hour to God. During that time, I would sing hymns, read the Bible, and then end with a prayer. It was time well spent, and I truly treasured it.
Results of Making Time for God
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. (Mt 6:33)
Once we place God first, we will experience an immense difference in our lives. I noticed that when I made time for God by scheduling a period of time with Him each evening, I always completed my work within a shorter amount of time. I would often receive inspiration from Him when I was stuck on a paper.
Moreover, the time that I set out for God also became a stress reliever for me. For that hour, I would forget about my studies and concentrate on the Lord. Amazingly, during the most stressful days, the lyrics of a hymn or a Bible verse would always touch me and lift my burdens. I truly felt immense peace and joy in my heart during those times. During my final year of university, whenever I was completely overwhelmed with work, God provided me with the sanity I needed.
Jesus encourages us in Matthew 11:28-30:
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and My burden is light.
I encourage you to give it a try, even if you can only afford to give up twenty minutes. Use that time to meditate on His words and to tell Him what a stressful day you've had. You'll definitely feel the difference in your life. As long as we put God first in our lives, we truly don't have to worry about anythingâ€”everything will fall nicely into place.
The world around us is always trying to invent novel ways to get things done more quicklyâ€”from fast food to instant messaging. In such a fast-paced society, seeking God seems like the last thing on our minds. However, making time for God could mean the difference between being a stressed-out, harried student and being a successful, peaceful Christian student. The choice and the time are yours.
"On Campus" seeks to support and inspire an active faith among our youth through candid discussion and exploration of the many challenges facing Christians on campus. Please send comments on this article or questions about student life to firstname.lastname@example.org.