What an amazing concept. When you stop and really think about it, time is by far one of the most incomprehensible phenomenons known to mankind. Throughout my years of teaching Sunday School to children of all ages, from pre-schoolers to college and career students, there has only been one way I have been able to describe time. It's the very same way my Daddy explained it to me as a child. He drew a circle on a piece of paper and said that before the beginning of anything there was God, and there was no such thing as time. Then he drew a simple line in the top part of the circle. He explained how God simply stepped in and "drew" a line in the circle, creating time, which from that point on everything had a beginning and an ending.
Because of that line, our brains have a difficult time understanding the concept of eternity. It is quite amazing to think how one of these days God will step in once again... and simply erase the line. The short amount of time that we have been given as individuals to decide where we will be when that line is erased is by far the most precious gift we have ever or will ever be given.
Each year, we celebrate the date that marks the beginning of our own beginning. We call it a birthday. Just yesterday, I turned another year older. One more drop in the countdown of my personal timeline, the time that I have been given to determine how I will spend eternity. It's a sobering thought, but not one of dread or worry for me, because in the words of one of my favorite childhood Christian music bands, "I've got time on my side". You see, when this life is over for me, that's when my true life will begin...a life that will never end.
Another thought to ponder... there is more to time than just a beginning and an ending. There are beautiful periods of time within time itself called seasons. I'm not just referring to the four seasons of each year (which Autumn is my favorite by far!). There are seasons in our own lives. Ecclesiastes chapter 3 says it so well, I wanted to include it in this post. I know we've all heard it so many times before, but sometimes I like to read these verses again and see them through the "glasses" of a personal perspective.
"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.
What profit hath he that worketh in that wherein he laboureth?
I have seen the travail, which God hath given to the sons of men to be exercised in it.
He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end."
Seasons are needed. Seasons have purpose. Seasons are vital to our very existence. Without the changing of seasons in our lives, there would be no growth. Things would always stay the same, whether good or bad. Nichole Nordeman sings a beautiful song called Every Season (see video below), which captures the heart of my thoughts on recognizing God in each season of our lives.
My personal desire is to always remember that time is a precious gift, that time brings seasons, that seasons bring needed change, and that change brings new growth. As I look back over the past 33 years of my life, and try to look at the unknown years ahead, I want these thoughts to be etched into my heart and mind. I pray that whatever time I am given, be it one day or 50 more years, that it will be time well spent in the light of eternity. Just as a breath is breathed in and out again, so is the beginning and ending of this earthly life bound by the laws of time... only to be forever released to the eternal. To believe in life after death only to realize you were wrong, you've lost nothing. To not believe now only to awaken in the light of eternity, you've lost everything. Be sure you know where you stand when your own line is erased.