By Ron Strom
“A stitch in time saves nine.”
“If I could save time in a bottle …”
“Time flies when you’re having fun.”
“Time is money.”
Time: For thousands of years, we’ve been trying to save time, use time wisely and “beat the clock.” Though time appears to be an obvious, needed element to our existence, or even an annoyance, it’s also a great blessing from the Lord.
In my church family here in beautiful Southern Oregon, I somehow have gained a reputation for being extraordinarily concerned about time. Maybe it’s the fact I am rarely seen without a watch and that I consult it with regularity.
While my preoccupation with time can certainly be a liability or a cause for a joke or tease, I found myself recently praising God for time … really! After all, where would we be without the orderliness and predictability of time?
If it weren’t for time, the world would be a chaotic jumble of meaningless activity – if it existed at all.
Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.”
And a fine reason that is!
Before God created time, sometimes referred to as his first creation, the three-person Godhead – Father, Son and Holy Spirit – existed without the need for time. When God created the Universe, however, he necessarily put time into the mix so that there was order – one thing happening after another.
We see in Genesis that God’s Creation occurred one step at a time, for six days straight. Days are one of God’s gifts of common grace – 24-hour periods of constancy and faithfulness for his creation to enjoy.
Theologians argue about whether God is outside of time or not. Time occurs when things change. God does not change; therefore, some assert, he is not subject to or “in time.”
Others argue, however, that God the Son, in his incarnation, was put into time, received a resurrected body, which he still has, and will come again – in time – to judge the world. They also point out that the Creation itself is God putting himself into time, since what he created on Day 1 was in the “past” as he created on Day 2.
Ultimately, it’s one of those incomprehensible concepts we don’t fully understand but trust that God, whether yesterday, today or in eternity, does not change and is faithful at all “times.”
Peter reminds us in 2 Peter 3: “with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.”
So, whether God is outside time, inside time or both simultaneously, we know that He is sovereign over it. Nothing changes, no time passes, that is not ordained by our amazing time-creating King.
The next time you find yourself late for an appointment or frustrated by time’s unyielding march, thank God for the gift of time and praise Him for the fact that he is never late – and never sleeps in! (Psalm 121:4)