Since I posted the first rendition of “Time” I have thought a lot about some of the things I left out on accident or some of the things I maybe didn’t touch on that I wish I would have. Hopefully this one covers all of my thoughts.
One of the biggest things I want to relay is that time is not a bad thing–it is a gift from God! I think we get so focused on running around each day or getting ahead at work or ahead of the next days affairs that we start to view time as an enemy. But time is part of His creation so we should value it and cherish it! Each moment is an opportunity to live for Him and in His timing. And this is where I would like to start.
God’s time is very different from human time. It’s easy for me to understand this, but a lot harder for me to actually live believing it. He has existed from the beginning of time (and before that, and before that, and before that, for eternity) and that fact right there blows my mind. I have trouble imagining or even thinking about what that looks like without my head starting to spin around in circles. I mean seriously think about what eternity looks like.. No time schedules to run our days, no birth or death, no night or day or sleep (maybe there is sleep, I don’t know), no figment in our minds to make us want to keep running around pointlessly. God was here for forever before He created the world (and time itself) and He will be here for forever because He is eternity.It blows my mind how REAL and MIGHTY our God is–He exists beyond the boundary that holds us in place, time.
I actually find peace in all of that, though, despite how scary it is, because I know that the God who invented time and still exists beyond all of that time is on my side; He is in my corner. I may get frustrated because I want Him to work on my time almost all of that time, but even in the midst of that season He still remains faithful and loving of me. It would be (and is) easy for my human brain to think that God should act like a human, and get frustrated with me always trying to work out with my own strength things that only He can work out, but that’s so not true because God is not a human, He’s my God.
He doesn’t have to operate on my time (1) because He is God and He created me. It wouldn’t make any sense for the Creator to revolve around all of the created’s selfish desires. And (2) because His timing is greater than I could ever imagine, for He knows the whole story. I only know what’s right in front of me and usually I am too stubborn to see any further beyond that. But God, He sees the whole picture. He has seen time from the very beginning and He’s seen our lives from beginning to end already, so He knows what’s best for me and for you. We hardly (or don’t at all) know what the next move in life to take is, but God does. He is like the poker player in any gambling movie who looks like he is about to lose because their opponent just laid down a straight flush. Everyone gasps, but not my God–He’s not surprised–He knows something that we all don’t: He has the all powerful royal flush, the hand that can beat anything. Now, in no way am I suggesting that God plays poker because I don’t know that answer, nor am I saying that God handles our lives like a gambler, but I do know that He knows all and is above all–never worried, never uncertain, never short of time.
CS Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity, “Almost certainly God is not in Time. His life does not consist of moments following one another. If a million people are praying to Him at ten-thirty tonight, He need not listen to them all in that one little snippet which we call ten-thirty. Ten-thirty–and every other moment from the beginning of the world–is always the Present for Him. If you like to put it that way, He has all eternity in which to listen to the split second of prayer put up by a pilot as his plane crashes in flames…God is not hurried along in the Time-stream of this universe any more than an author is hurried along in the imaginary time of his own novel. He has infinite attention to spare for each one of us.”
God operates outside of our time realm so He can see all and handle all on a different level than we can. He can see the future and the past all in one because they are the present to Him–everything is.
Therefore, His perspective is much greater than ours, and His plan is much greater than ours because He knows just when to operate and just when things will be best for us. It’s not that He is waiting around, impatient, wanting things to be “right” before He does something spectacular. No, no. He’s waiting for the time for it to be perfect for us. He’s mapped things out and constructed just the right path for us and that means He knows full well what will be best and when it will be best. He can see it in full view, from beginning to end, not just the moments that we can, so He knows what to do. Trust me, He does.
This timing of His is much different than we want or expect but, again, it is perfect. We think it should be at a certain point in time and we get frustrated when God doesn’t move like humans do, but in all reality some of the things we so desperately want would actually be detrimental to us if His timing didn’t prevail.
Let me give you an example from my own life.
When I was a 17 years old I found out my family was going to be moving from the small town I had spent my whole life in to a big (to me then) city that I knew nothing about. If I am being honest, at first I actually was excited about this idea because my family would be moving somewhere that would be healthier for us all and we would be doing something I had never imagined possible, but that was also the worst part (extreme emphasis on the worst part): we would be doing something I had never imagined. I was going to have to leave the only house I had known, the friends and classmates I had grown up with from birth, the comfortable small town that I had so many memories attached to, and most importantly at the time, the ideas about my future adventures in high school that I had. You see, I had watched my brothers grow up and graduate from high school there, become captains of their football and basketball teams, play very important roles on those teams and in their school, attend events around the area that I was not allowed to yet, and then eventually emerge out of it all alongside their best friends, and from when I was a very little boy that’s what I had expected and anticipated myself to do, too. So I had all of these grand ideas about who I was going to be in high school and the impact I was going to make and the fun times I was going to have and then all of a sudden I had to breakaway and separate from all of it. Move to a new town where I knew zero people. Struggle with depression and what my identity really was. Hide myself away in my room. Attend a high school that was overwhelmingly four times the size of the one I had gone to and play on sports teams that were far more athletic and competitive than the ones I had been on. And it was scary. That’s all I can say about it. I was really scared. And yet, even with all of the factors that made this “the worst thing that could’ve happened”, God had his timing, still. That was where I started to truly find Him.
I began to find friends who actually loved Jesus and were trying their best to follow Him. My family started to attend a church that blew away my idea of what church could be and who God could be. It’s not that I didn’t have faith before the move, but that the move caused me to press into my faith and actually talk to God and actually believe in Him. I have been able to travel to places I would never have expected while I was growing up and to reach people I might never have known had we not moved. The margin in my life for bringing light and change into this world has increased with each day simply because we moved. And I thank God for that. Five years out from that move I can see all of the things that He did through it and I am blown away. If it weren’t for the move I would’ve never chosen to attend the college I did. It seems simple when I write it down, but that is huge. If it were not for attending this college I would’ve never had some of the most life-impacting events happen to me or meet people who have showed me the depth of Jesus’ love. I would’ve never found my greatest friends that I can rely on for anything. I would’ve never been pushed to throw myself into following Jesus’ example as I have. And ultimately, most importantly, I would’ve never found God like I have– I would’ve never found my purpose for life. For this very reason I know without a doubt that God’s timing is always perfect. As I said before, moving (the thing I dreaded most and questioned with everything I had) made my faith increase, and without my faith increasing I would still be a little boy chasing after things of this world that never satisfy.
The very thing that made me shake my fist at God brought me closer to Him more than ever.
And so I wonder (and you might too), “What kind of God dares to allow me to turn from Him and wave my hands at Him and be pissed off at Him in the process of bringing me closer to Him?” My all-powerful One, that’s Who. Our God is the Creator of the universe, and there is nothing He cannot do or will not do to bring us to Him, that includes the operation of His timing in our lives.
This story from my life is just one example of how God has worked through a situation that I was so against for so long and showed me the true goodness of it all. I know that in each and everyone of our lives we can look back and recognize places that God stopped certain things or allowed certain things to happen that we could not fathom at the time, but now we see blessings. That’s what continues to give me hope.
My point is this: the things that seem so terrible and make us question God and His timing in our lives are the things that He wants to use so spectacularly within our lives. It is plenty OK to question God’s direction in our lives. He wants us exactly as we are, doubts and all. But that doesn’t mean He won’t change us and transform those doubts, because He loves us way too much to let us live in our sin and our worry and He will do anything to reach us. The timing that we see through our human lenses might frustrate us or excite us or it might even make us angry that God “could do this to us.” But hold on. Remember that He sees the whole picture and He knows that this situation might be hard now, but it CANNOT COMPARE to what is out ahead!
Imagine that, God really does have great plans for us.
Let’s trust Him and His timing. If we place our lives in God’s Time, we will never be worried about any sort of timing again. What a view to have.
STAY ENCOURAGED, our God cares.