One day last week, I put my son down for a nap and went downstairs to do some jobs. It soon became obvious that he wasn’t settling so I went back to see what the problem was. When I picked him up to soothe him, he promptly fell asleep in my arms. Putting him down would almost certainly have woken him so I settled down in the armchair in his room, tried very hard not to think about the jobs I had wanted to do, and reached for my phone to while away the time in scrolling through social media or browsing the web. That’s when I realised my phone was still downstairs. I instantly felt frustrated. Not only could I not get on with any of the jobs I needed to do, but I also couldn’t pass the time in the way I often do when I gain an unexpected few moments.
As I sat in the chair feeling impatient, I thought about the fact that nothing happens by chance. God always has a plan and always knows every detail of our lives. He knows how things will work out when we can only plan and hope that things will go our way. It dawned on me that this was a perfect opportunity for prayer or meditation. I’m always saying how difficult it is to find adequate quality time to read and pray – here was an ideal occasion and my first instinct had been to reach for my smartphone. As I further thought about my situation, other examples of unexpected idle time occurred to me: delayed trains, late appointments or meetings, traffic jams, sleepless nights. Sadly I had to acknowledge that it is rare I would think to use that time in prayer and usually my phone would get my attention.
What is your first reaction when you have a short time with nothing to do? Do you reach for your phone and idle away the time aimlessly? Or do you make good use of your time by communing with God and refreshing your spirit?
See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:15-17