Time and Eternity

By Jim Allen

It's 8:25 in the morning. The pendulum swings and the seconds slowly tick by. Soon one minute will be gone and then another and another until an hour passes. Hour will follow hour until it begins all over again tomorrow morning, same time and same place. Time is a strange thing. When you consciously think on one minute it seems long; but to think about one hour for sixty minutes would seem like an eternity.

I once heard that time is nature's way of preventing everything from happening at once. It's a profound thought and a true saying most of the time until everything does happen at once.

This is another unplanned article. Each word flows as it comes to mind and finds its place somewhere within each sentence. I have no idea of the article's theme or what its closing message might be. It's a mystery to me, although time could be one clue.

I like mysteries, and so too does God (Ephesians 3). Only the minutes and hours that follow will reveal the theme, much like the days and months that follow God's plan for you and me, which can also at times seem like a mystery (Jeremiah 29:10).

Like clockwork, the days of our lives tick by and each one leaves a footprint in the sand of time. Jesus left his footprints in the sand. His foot prints were in a straight line. There was no swaying from left to right or going in circles. No time was wasted. Each step was deliberate, full of resolve, and always for the purpose of bringing light into the world (John 18:12).

We can suppose at times the Savior walked silently, not saying a word to anyone. In those moments of quiet the disciples trailed behind, perhaps chatting among themselves about the miracle they'd just witnessed. But the thoughts of Jesus, in the quiet moments, were often private and not shared with the disciples. His thoughts returned to his Father in silent communion where He heard from heaven (John 17:1-3).

Earlier this morning I sat in our family room with the television turned off. I don't watch it much anymore because it's part of the world and the daily newscasts are wrong about most things. With the room quiet and peaceful I looked through the bay window to see sunlight reflecting off the leaves as they stirred gently in the morning breeze.

In these quiet and special moments, our thoughts return to God to think about heavenly things. One thought this morning is that Jesus came to leave His footprints on the seashore of life. He came to lead us away from the cares of the world and its woes; He came to lead us to the narrow path of life and its many eternal promises (John 8:12).

Of all the paths in life, the narrow path is the most difficult to find, but when found even more difficult to walk. I sometimes wonder why God made this path so narrow and especially difficult to travel. Does it really need to be this hard? Isn't Christianity supposed to be easy?

You would think so but there's more going on than we know. Our time on the narrow path will vary. Some get on the path early in life. Others come along later. Regardless, we learn about things never thought possible and experience the reality of God in ways never before known.

For example, we live the Christian life to win others to Christ by walking as Christ, in the power of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16). Christianity is Jesus living through us; He is the Vine and produces the fruit of love, joy, and peace in us. We know this. But our life is never about us being better; it is about Him living through us to the point that we appear Christ-like.

Time on the narrow path is a time to learn. Each step teaches us something new about ourselves and something wonderful about our faithful God. The Apostle Paul wrote Jesus is the Author and finisher of our faith, and that He is constantly forging our faith to withstand the trials of life and help us in the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14). About this preparation Got Questions writes:
It is important for us to understand that God in Christ is not only the creator and sustainer of our saving faith, but He is also the sustainer of our daily walk and the finisher of our spiritual journey…"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6). (Source)
This is a promise we can take to the bank. It's a promise we can lean on when the path seems too narrow and taxing to stay the course. Do you sometimes just sit down and wonder what's going on? Why all the push back? But to get up and continue is necessary if we are to build endurance to continue the good fight of faith. What is the good fight of faith?

Before the Apostle Paul was called home he assured Timothy that he had fought the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12). Paul walked the narrow path and wrote about his many trials along the way. He told about imprisonment and being stoned. Paul didn't always understand what was happening to him but he understood the need to stay the course and press on knowing he could never turn back.

Jesus was the author of Paul's faith and He is the author of our faith. This work takes time — sometimes a long time. Taking time to look out the bay window was an opportunity for Jesus to author a memory that will forever remind me about the goodness and greatness and faithfulness of God. It's a memory not soon forgotten. The memory of 8:25 in the morning will last long after the missed news broadcast is stored away in a computer hard drive.

So now you know how this article ends. It started in the morning and led to a discussion about footprints in the sand, continued with trials and wanderings on the pathway of life, and ended with the promise that Jesus is at work authoring our faith in those special moments alone with Him (Psalm 119:33-35).

In closing, the next time you want to experience something special in life, turn off of the world. It offers nothing of value to a child of God. Instead, sit quietly and allow the Author of your faith to reveal the unseen glories of God (Psalm 104:1).

As the Apostle Paul wrote, "...look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are passing away, but the things that are unseen are eternal and lasting" (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).


Image: Jim Allen

TagsBiblical-Truth  | Christian-Life  | Eternity-Forever  | God-Father  | Jesus-Christ

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Published 7-26-16