Yesterday would have been mom’s 84th birthday. This year also marks the twentieth anniversary of dad’s passing. Remembering my parents recalls the emotional anxiety of their elderly years, knowing that time was short.

How many times have you said, “Ah, I just need more time to _____?” How would that blank be filled in? More time to spend with a loved one, to get a project done, to write a report, a blog or … what? If you didn’t know you had extra time, would it be extra?
Sometimes it’s in hindsight when we discover that “time was on our side.” Our understanding is clearer about something after the fact. The proverb “Hindsight is 20/20” became popular in the early 1900’s
What if, in hindsight, southern Israel had one more day to prepare for the October 7th onslaught brought on Hamas?

“Pay careful attention, then, to how you live
– not as unwise people but as wise –
 making the most of the time, because the days are evil.”

Ephesians 5:15-16 CSB

Today we have an extra day this year because a leap year has rolled around. Here’s a brief explanation of why Thinking about what an extra day could mean in our lives today sparked me to reflect on a few of the people and events from ancient times that Scripture tells us about when more time came into play.

“And the sun stood still and the moon stopped
until the nation took vengeance on its enemies.
Isn’t this written in the book of Jashar? So the sun stopped
 in the middle of the sky and delayed its setting
almost a full day.”

Joshua 10:13-14 CSB

Joshua had taken the lead for God’s people after Moses’ death. And, like Moses, he had victories and defeats (see the Book of Joshua – After being fooled by the Gibeonites into a treaty that went against God’s will (Chapter 9), a handful of Amorite kings tried to play Joshua too, but it didn’t go as well for them as it did for the Gibeonites (Chapter 10). Why? I’m glad you asked. Because “The LORD said to Joshua…I have handed them over to you.” (Joshua 10:8.)

The Lord helped Joshua in battle with an onslaught of bad weather and “More of them died from the hail than the Israelites killed with the sword.” (Joshua 10:11.)
And Joshua, being the kingdom man that he was, wanted to please the Lord and remain in His will, so he asked the Lord for extra time to complete the mission and he received “almost a full day.” (Joshua 10:13.)
Scripture tells us that, “There has been no day like it before or since, when the LORD listened to a man, because the LORD fought for Israel.” (Joshua 10:14.)

Joshua went on to serve the Lord. He gave his time in battle after battle, and the Lord gave the Israelites victory in regaining much of His promised land.

“I will add fifteen years to your life. I will rescue
you and this city from the grasp of the king of
2 Kings 20:6 CSB

Fifteen years is substantial and King Hezekiah prayed for just that, because Scripture tells us that, “In those days Hezekiah became terminally ill…” (2 Kings 20:1.)
More time is likely a request prayed for by all sides touched by the terminal illness of a loved one. Most of us would be satisfied with fulfillment of the request itself, but Hezekiah went further by asking for a sign from the Lord that He would really heal him (v. 8). After a bit of back and forth with the prophet Isaiah, Scripture informs that the Lord miraculously “brought the shadow back ten steps” (v.11) as a sign to Hezekiah of his healing.

King Hezekiah was a man of God who did much for the sake of Israel, but after his fifteen-year reprieve, he became complacent. When the prophet Isaiah gave him Word from the Lord that a Babylonian invasion was coming, Hezekiah’s thought was, and I’m paraphrasing, oh well, at least there’s peace during my time. (2 Kings 20:19.)

“Then Martha said to Jesus,
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.””
John 11:21 CSB

“As soon as Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him,
she fell at his feet and told him,
“Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died!””

John 11:32 CSB

Martha and Mary had sent a message to Jesus that their brother Lazarus was sick (Book of John, Chapter 11). But when Jesus heard the news, “he stayed two more days in the place where he was” (v. 6).
Why would Jesus take His time getting to them when they were all in urgent need of more time? I like how The Living Bible tells it in verses 14-15. Jesus is speaking with His disciples, “Lazarus is dead. And for your sake, I am glad I wasn’t there, for this will give you another opportunity to believe in me. Come, let’s go to him.”

Soon after Lazarus’ miraculous return to life, he was at a dinner reclining with Jesus (John 12:1-2). He was with Jesus while evil was creeping at their door, plotting to steal their time (vv. 9-11).
Scripture doesn’t tell what happened to Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. As their movie plays out in my head, I picture the trio joyfully serving the Lord and praising Him for His gift of more time together in His grace.

As for Jesus…

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity,
the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all,
 a testimony at the proper time.”
1 Timothy 2:5-6