Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
In the time you gave me

In the Time You Gave Me


Do you know how much time you have? Do any of us? We don’t.

In the coming week, we will celebrate Thanksgiving Day. But this year, on that day I will also celebrate the birthday of someone I love who is no longer here. Can I do both on the same day? The answer is a resounding yes.

Do I miss him? Of course. However, I’m reminded of a line from a movie in which the main character bemoaned how he lost his father when he was a child. His wise mentor said:

“Do you remember what people said when he died? They said ‘he died before his time.’ How do they know it was before his time? Maybe when he died, that was ‘his time.’ Maybe whenever we die, that’s our ‘time.’”

Those words echo the wisdom of God’s Word:

  • “Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” (Psalm 139:16 ESV).
  • “Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with you, and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass” (Job 14:5 ESV).
  • “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12 ESV).


What Am I Doing With the Time I Have?


We don’t know how much time we have, but God does. And He has determined the number of our days and His purposes for our life. The question to ask is not, “How much time do I have?” The more important question is, “What am I doing with the time He has given me?”

Russ used the time God gave him to encourage all those who crossed his path. He spent his final months sharing the gospel and his testimony of spiritual and emotional healing even as cancer cells continued to multiply.

On his birthday I will grieve my loss. My loss, not his, for death resulted in his gain. As Tim Keller once said, “The glory of the Christian life is that we have a hope that overwhelms grief. It doesn’t eradicate it. It sweetens it. It overwhelms it.”

I grieve, but not as one who has no hope. Have you lost someone special? Does your grief overwhelm you or does hope overwhelm your grief?

In this season of Thanksgiving—and every day throughout the year—cultivate gratitude for the time you have. Cultivate gratitude for the time you share with loved ones. And when you find yourself becoming annoyed at the little things in your relationships, ask yourself if those things are really important. Because my guess is, most of the time, they aren’t important at all.

No one knows how much time they have. But the one guarantee we all have is that our time is limited.
As you watch the video below and listen to the lyrics sung by Bradley Walker and the late Joey Feek, ask yourself: How am I using the time God has given me?


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  1. LR

  2. Sherry Kitts

    Thank you for this post. It’s something we all should focus on – doing our best to fulfill the Lord’s work with the time He’s given us. I’ll be praying for you especially at Thanksgiving. My father died last September and even though he was 96 and had a wonderful life with us, I miss him each day. We were so close. He taught me many things throughout my life. He was the kindest, gentle man I’ve known. This Thanksgiving will be a tough day, but I pray I’ll be able to give great thanks to the Lord for choosing me to receive a terrific Dad. God’s blessings to you, Ava. Stay safe, healthy, and joyful.

  3. Ava Pennington

    I’m so sorry for your loss. May you be blessed with precious memories to dwell on this Thanksgiving.

  4. Melissa Henderson

    Amen. Thank you for the reminder to focus on Him and focus on showing His love to others.

  5. Yvonne Morgan

    Thanks for sharing your story. I pray your thanksgiving is peaceful. I like to remind my family that life is about making memories together because we don’t know how much time we have together. Thanks Ava. Happy Thanksgiving

  6. Candice Brown

    A hope that overwhelms grief….. I think the entire world is collectively grieving right now, but I have learned much from watching you grieve “as one who has hope.” May Father continue to warn you with his grace and sweet memories, sweet Ava. Happy Thanksgiving!

  7. Jessica Brodie

    Beautiful. Amen: “What am I doing with the time He has given me?”

  8. Karen Friday

    Ava, great piece. My husband quotes Psalm 90:12 at funerals for those in attendance. Learning to number our days is not something we think about often. And I enjoyed the thought from the movie that flipped how when we say someone died before their time is not necessarily true.

  9. Stephen De La Vega

    This is a great reminder for me, Ava. Things change when we consider we may not have much more time with those we meet and those we hold dear. We are here for others. Thank you for this.

  10. Nancy E Head

    How are we using our time? It’s a question we should ask ourselves every day.

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