The Myth of Wasted Time

Christians rightfully lament the hours, days, and years they wasted fighting with a spouse, entertaining fools, and pursuing the wrong career. They naturally assume that squandered time should equated with godless time. But that assumption proofs incorrect when measured against the teachings of the Bible. Though we may walk away from the Lord, God never walks away from his children. If you are trusting in Christ for your salvation, not one year, day, hour, minute, or second of your life has been wasted.

In 1 Samuel 29, David abandons God and lives with the Philistines. The future king of Israel assimilates quickly into his new culture, winning the confidence of the Philistine King and a place in nation’s military command. David comes within two days of fighting against King Saul, the Lord’s anointed. Had David taken the field with the Philistines, he would have lost his ability to lead the nation of Israel for either he would have fought against God’s King or he would have betrayed the trust of his new friends in the middle of the battle. Either way, David would have secured his kingdom by his hand, marring his conscience and the conscience of his soon-to-be kingdom with the shedding of innocent blood (1 Sam 25:30-31). As David stood upon the brink of spiritual and political disaster, the commanders of the Philistines intervene because the Hebrews had a history of stabbing the Philistines in the back (14:21). Moreover, the gentile Lords knew David was not an ordinary Hebrew; he was the giant slayer, the man of whom was tagged on Instagram as the slayer of “#tenthousands.” Despite the king’s plea, the generals win the day. The king tells David, “Go back now and go peaceably, that you may not displease the lords of the Philistines (1 Sam 29:7).”

Instead of recognizing the blessing of divine providence, David objects to the Philistines’ request, saying, “But what have I done?”

We know the answer to David’s question. Though the King of the Philistines thought David as pure as an angel, 1 Samuel 28 reveals that David has been less than angelic in his dealings with the Philistines. He has been raiding their allies, murdering their friends, and lying to them about his success, claiming all the spoils came from the Israelites. The Philistines had ample cause to dismiss David.

But David’s hypocrisy aside, his resolve to continue on with the campaign against Saul remains undaunted. He wants to go to war against God’s people and is restrained by a wicked king who commands David to “start early in the morning and depart as soon as you have light” (1 Sam. 29:10b). Because of the Philistines, David would be more than sixty miles removed from the frontlines when King Saul died. David could not be accused of killing Saul or of participating in the king’s death. God used evil, wicked kings to protect David from his sinful foolish heart and from cultural misconceptions.

In short, David’s year and four months in the land of the enemies was not wasted. God used that time to keep David from being actively involved in Saul’s death. God ordained that time to prepare David for his upcoming reign. God was working admits David’s idiocy.

Friends if you are a believer today, God has been working in your life. Those wasted moments of our lives were being woven together by God to get us to our heavenly kingdom. Though we should lament our sins, learn from their consequences, and seek to avoid the Philistia’s in our life with an unquestionable zeal, we do not have to pretend those time of foolishness did not exist. God was moving in our lives then just as much as now. He was sending us bad bosses, unfair judgements, and petty friends because he was preparing us to reign with him in heaven. He was orchestrating our divine homecoming. Though we may not be able to trace the kind hand of providence that appeared in 1 Samuel 29, we know it is still present. We may leave God; but he never leaves us.

The message of 1 Samuel 29, finds beautiful, succinct magnification in the words of Paul in Romans 8:28.

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Christian there are no wasted days in God’s divine economy. Do you agree?