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  • Kimberly Oden

In Due Time | Proclaiming Praise through the Paradoxical Season of Firsts and Lasts

Grow not weary in doing good for in due season

we will reap if we do not give up

Galatians 6:9

“The incessant tick-tock of the clock can feel like a thundering roar in your ears that leads to a melancholy moment in your heart…” That is what went pinging through my thoughts like a pinball the other morning as I pondered the prior evening. LCA held commencement ceremonies for the class of 2019 and as always, my eyes leaked as I witnessed a small class of 12 receive spoken words of affirmation about their future and listened as a few of them spoke with conviction about who they have become, but more importantly, about understanding WHOSE they have become! I watched a son console his mama when his sister, the valedictorian, made reference to her grandmother who had passed a few years prior. The mama wiped away tears while her son put his arm around her, loving her right where she was – in a moment of firsts and lasts with her daughter while remembering other moments of firsts and lasts with her own mama.

When my children were younger the mark of the end of a school year was a “Woo hoo! Yes! We are D-O-N-E!” celebratory moment! Since three of my sons have already graduated, the month of May has now become a reminder of firsts and lasts, past seasons that have closed and new seasons that are right around the corner. Yes, the incessant tick-tock of the clock can pull one into melancholy musings if they are not redeemed with Truth.

It got me to thinking about time…if we are honest, truly honest, we simply do not have the capacity to:

  • Make time

  • Inherit time

  • Borrow time

  • Buy time

  • Steal time

  • Speed up time

  • Slow down time

  • Manipulate time

  • Multiply time

And if we are being totally transparent, it begs the questions…

  • Can we spend time or does it just keep ticking?

  • Can we waste time or does it just keep tocking?

  • Do we really have “free” time?

  • What is the purpose of time?

  • Most importantly, what does God say about time?

I mean the bottom line is that we can beg for more time, but if we are walking in our Divine calling and purpose why would we need to?

That evening I watched a movie titled, “The Arrival”. It was about aliens visiting the earth for the purpose of providing revelation. As I watched, a few lines in the movie caught my attention as they had to do with time. “Time isn’t the same for them. To aliens, time is not linear and does not have a direction. The weapon {they offer} is their language…If you learn it... really learn it, you get to perceive time the way they do…”

My guys can poke fun of me for over-spiritualizing things, ​​however, my interest was piqued as I pondered the spiritual implication of what I had just heard…We know from the Word of God that His perception of time and our understanding of time is not the same (2 Peter 3:8). Time for us IS linear, it IS directional…but if we begin to understand God’s language, His Word, perhaps we might begin to understand time and perceive our purpose through the stewardship of the time with a fresh new lens? A lens that reminds us of the Source of our security, identity, belonging, and purpose?

In John 8:14 Jesus makes a proclamation that speaks to those four core needs: For I know where I came from and where I am going.

Jesus knew where He came from (His Father in whom He trusted) and He knew with conviction where he was going…so how can we?

If you look back at verse 12 He tells us, I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.

The journey this side of heaven can feel so cloudy at times.

I mean how do we know if we are following Him or our feelings?

How do we know what He is saying?

How will we know if we are on the path that leads to life?

These are the questions that followed me to the gym the next morning…while there, two songs washed over me as I wrestled through the questions…

The title of the first song, “With You (Paradoxology” initially caught my attention, but then I was quickly captured by the lyrics:

Beneath the surface Of my anxious imagination Beckons a calmness That is found in you alone

It washes over every doubt, every imperfection Jesus your presence is the comfort of my soul

There's nowhere I'd rather be

When you're singing over me I just wanna be here with you I'm lost in your mystery I'm found in your love for me I just wanna be here with you

Here in the waiting I won't worry about tomorrow No need to focus On the things I can't control All my attention On the wonder of this moment Jesus your presence Is the comfort of my soul

Immediately following this song, “Hallelujah Here Below” began to play. Timestamp 4:20-5:20 caused me to pause right there in the middle of the gym and listen to that section four times through! What’s fascinating is that when I pulled into the garage after the workout, I heard music blasting from inside the house – I opened the kitchen door only to hear worship filling the air! THE VERY SAME WORSHIP SONG was playing along with one of my sons praising along with the symphony of singers! I told him that I had just listened to that song several times at the gym and he went on to tell me “the why” behind the artwork of the song – it had caught his attention as well!

I plopped myself down to research the songs and learned that both songs are from the same album, the title of which is, “Paradoxology”! There’s that word again! I couldn’t wait to dig into the word to see what the Lord had to say…

I opened my Bible and said, “Lord I’m still pondering the questions about time and purpose and now this strange word “paradoxology” has surfaced…how does it all connect?

The next hour was spent researching what the Lord has to say about time and the bottom line is that our only response (or our response-ability) when it comes to time is this:

We are commanded to redeem the time.

(See Eph 5:16, Col 4:5, James 4:13-17)

“Redeem” comes from the word Greek word Eksagonazo which means:

  • to buy up

  • to ransom

  • to save from loss

  • making the most of a present opportunity recognizing its future gain - I LOVE this one!

So our response to time is to utilize our abilities to ransom time from loss, to make the most of the present recognizing its future gain!!!

Ok, this is good, I thought, but how does this connect with the songs and the word paradoxology? Well, paradoxology is defined as the use of paradoxes, but if we look closely, we see that it is comprised of two words - Paradox and Doxology.

Paradox: an opinion that conflicts with common belief that seems absurd but in reality exposes a possible truth. My friends like to call this, “a both/and”. A common example of this would be, “This is the beginning of the end.” How in the world can a beginning be an end all at the same time???

Para: alongside – think of parallel lines

Dox: to seem good; to take or accept

Doxology: praise; giving glory to God ; to speak

Dox: to seem good; to take or accept

Ology: from logos and leg – which mean to speak; to collect or to gather

If we combine the meanings of these definitions, we see that they point to:

DOX - Accepting what is good and to

OLOGY - collect and gather the good in order to speak praises to our God

PARA - who is alongside us….

So in essence, paradoxology is accepting what is good by collecting and gathering the good in order to speak praises to our God who is with us!!! Doxology is paradoxical when our praises fly in the face of facts that seem contrary to the Truth of who He is and who we are as His sons and daughters!!!

We currently reside this side of heaven where hard things happen, where we face lack or loss on a daily basis and yet we have the opportunity to enter into this idea of paradoxology… a place where we can proclaim praises of our most kind and mighty King, praises that are in direct opposition to “common belief” regarding the facts we face. The declaration of our praise, giving glory to God Most High may at times seem absurd but in reality expose not just a possible truth, but THEE TRUTH!

As we proclaim the Truth about the goodness of God and the salvation of our Saviour, we are reminded that Jesus is our Way, our Truth and our very life! We might not know the specifics of why a season seemingly ended early or why another seemingly abruptly begins – it’s a paradox that we face daily, but what if we allow the paradox of shifting seasons become a springboard for paradoxology??? …a moment where we reside parallel to heaven, walking through the perils of this earth all the while proclaiming praises contrary to the facts we face, allowing the Holy Spirit to, “beckon us to calm…”?

We do not know what the future holds, or even if there is a tomorrow, but we can glance back to the past and witness the worthiness of the One who has gone before us, the One who died for us and the One who now resides within! He is the One worthy of our trust!

As much as we’d like, we cannot go back in time, change time, borrow time, buy time or even make time, but what we CAN do is redeem the time by following the One who created time! As we leave the business of the school year and transition into the saunter of summer, may we remember that we all of a response-ability to redeem the time...may we respond to the "extra" time we have this summer by watching more sunsets than Netflix, collecting more memories than things and practicing the ministry of presence more than the aim of accomplishment!

Oh, Father God, there is so much here…it feels like a book of revelation far too deep to grasp! What is the one thing you wish us to understand about time, about seasons, about paradox and about doxology? Lord Jesus, even though our imaginations can wander into worry about tomorrow or to things we simply cannot control, be our Peace. Beckon us with your Presence. Let us become lost in your mysterious love for us in such a way that causes us to respond with a proclamation of praise! Your Word says that the dead cannot sing praises to the Lord for they have gone into the silence of the grave (Psalm 115:17), but we are NOT dead! Let us make the most of our time! Remind us that WE can praise the Lord now and forevermore! May the lyrics of our lips become words that confound the enemy. May our words become your Word – the Word that was here at the beginning of time and remains steadfast even until the end when we enter into endless eternity with You, Emmanuel, God With Us! And in that moment where we rest and reside in Your Presence, may we become a people, (brokenness and all), who proclaim a, “Hallelujah {from} Here Below!” Yes,

We are an altar of broken stones But You delight in the offering You have the heavens to call Your home But You abide in the song we sing!!!

Ten thousand angels surround Your throne To bring You praise that will never cease But hallelujah from here below Is still Your favorite melody!

We sing Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

p.s. Here are links to the two songs mentioned above - praying they give words to praise and help you proclaim a hallelujah from here below!


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