Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Time in a bottle...

Hi crazy friends,

Well, Labor Day has come and gone and school will soon be back in session. Where has the summer gone? I recall the days of my childhood when summers seemed to pass very slowly. But I've learned that time is very elastic, or at least our perception of it is certainly flexible. For someone flat on his/her back in a hospital bed time passes very slowly. However, while on a cruise up the Southwest Coast of Alaska time passes very quickly. Of course, time itself didn't change, only our perception of it.

In II Peter 3:8 we read that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. That just means that God is outside the box, outside the framework of time and space. He lives in the realm of the eternal where time is nonexistent or at least inconsequential. He sees as completed what we see as process. He knows the end when we are barely able to grasp the beginning. When I try to mentally lay hold of this concept I feel like David in Psalm 139:6 who says, "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it."

Many years ago one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Jim Croce, wrote a song called "Time In a Bottle." In it he talks about the frustration that all humans feel about time. The words go...
If I could save time in a bottle the first thing that I'd like to do
Is to save every day 'til eternity passes away just to spend them with you.
If I could make days last forever, if words could make wishes come true,
I'd save every day like a treasure, and then, again, I would spend them with you.
But there never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do once you find them.
I've looked around enough to know that you're the one I want to go through time with.

The moment you were conceived in your mother's womb you became an eternal living being, destined to live forever someplace. God's plan and desire is that we spend eternity with Him in the place He has prepared for those who love Him. It is called Heaven. But those people who reject His gracious offer of salvation are no less eternal beings. They too will spend eternity somewhere, in a place the Bible calls Hell. It was not created for man, it was not designed for humans, but many will go there and will remain for all eternity. The thought is sobering.

Another songwriter, Pete Seeger, back in the 1950s wrote a song he called "Turn, Turn, Turn." It later became a hit when it was recorded by The Byrds in October of 1965. Check out their classic version on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNopQq5lWqQ. But you may or may not know that Seeger lifted the lyrics for his song straight out of the OT book of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. Those verses tell us that for everything and every event under heaven there is a divinely appointed time--for birth and for death, for weeping and for laughing, for mourning and for dancing, for war and for peace, just to name a few. But immediately following that passage just down in verse 11 we read, "He [God] has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart..." I really like how the verse reads in the New Living Translation: "God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God's work from beginning to end."

"God has planted eternity in the human heart." That is a thought worth contemplating. But what does it mean? I believe that every human has a notion of eternity hardwired into his head, into his heart. Those people who insist that they don't believe in God or an afterlife tend to backpedal on that stupid theology when they approach death. There is an old adage that says, "There are no atheists in foxholes." I think that's true.

I have reached the ripe old age of 58 years and I'm becoming more and more aware of how fleeting this life really is, and yet how much time is still out in front of us. This earthly life, with its 70+ years is but a preview of coming eternal attractions. We who know Christ and have come into a life-saving, life-changing relationship with the Living God will continue to know and experience fulness of life forever. I blows my mind!

Still loving crazy people,

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