Enjoy this time — it won’t last for long

WORDS FROM THE WISE: How many times has God seen me wandering through my life, tapped me on the shoulder and told me to slow down enjoy my time? A lot, I imagine.

Jenna Bartlo, Writer

Sitting in a hotel recently, I heard a little boy say to his father as they walked to their room, “Dad, can we have fun tonight? Can we watch a movie? Or be cuddle bugs?” After my smile slightly softened from this endearing question, I wanted to run after the father and tell him to enjoy this time because it won’t last for long — something he surely knew.

Having graduated a mere two years ago from Biola, and experiencing friends moving away and marrying, at times I want to tap groups of students I see laughing and talking with each other on the shoulder and tell them to enjoy this time, because it won’t last for long. In those times, I realize I need to tell myself to enjoy this time as well.

How many times has God seen me wandering through my life, tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Enjoy this time. I am here,” yet I never saw him?

A lot, I imagine.

It is easy to enjoy warm conversations with friends over cups of coffee late in the evening, impromptu dance parties in the dorms, or reading a book for fun. Often, we will sing praises to the Lord after times like these such as “Lord, thank you for friends!” or “God, thank you for the ability to have fun!” or “Jesus, thank you for allowing me the time to leisurely read.” More often though, we don’t. I wonder if God has tapped me on the shoulder during those times and said, “Enjoy this time. I am here.”

The pressing question to me, however, is when do we think to take joy in God’s presence amidst our suffering? Or perhaps enjoy His presence when we feel uncertain about our future? I believe God, undoubtedly, has graced me with the words, “Enjoy this time. I am here,” amidst my distress. But I simply didn’t understand them.

My junior year at Biola, my parents separated. It was a form of suffering I hadn’t experienced before. Looking back now, I see that experience as an incredibly dear time of closeness with the Lord. He taught me and carried me through my anguish. However, amidst my suffering I hadn’t come to an understanding of enjoying the Lord in my pain and emotion. Perhaps I couldn’t.

But my assumption is that during that time as well, he was saying to me, “Enjoy this time. I am here.” What would it look like to enjoy the Lord’s presence in suffering? What does it look like to take joy in the knowledge of His presence even when it is not felt? What would it be like to enjoy God’s presence in a conflict?

This is something I am still learning and comprehending. However, as you trudge through the next week of finals and some of you step out into the open world of your future, whatever you may be going through, I challenge you to enjoy this time not only because it will not last forever, but because the Lord may be tapping you on the shoulder and saying, “Enjoy this time. I am here.”

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