Devotional: Where Does Time Come From?
Paul D. Ackerman
STEP BY STEPAre we running out of time? The answer to that question is simple. All of us have just a little bit of time that God gives us in this life. He wants us to learn that no matter how young, healthy, full of life, and full oftime we feel, we need him and His Son every second of every day so we never have to be afraid of ever really running out of time.
"He does not lead me year by year
Nor even day by day.
But step by step my path unfolds;
My Lord directs my way.
Tomorrow's plans I do not know
I only know this minute;
But He will say, "This is the way,
By faith now walk ye in it."
And I am glad that it is so,
Today's enough to bear;
And when tomorrow comes, His grace
Shall far exceed its care.
What need to worry then, or fret?
The God who gave His Son
Holds all my moments in His hand
And gives them, one by one."
-Barbara C. Ryberg
How do we use our time wisely? When a child or an adult plays, is he or she using time wisely? When a person plays at the right time, he or she is using time very wisely! The redemption ofjoyful play is a part of God's plan from the creation, and part of our inheritance in Christ. It's fun to try to understand things, and thinking about questions like where time comes from can be both play and worship. Thinking about where time comes from and other such questions can be a very wise use of God's time.
So, where does time come from? Some say our time must come from the past. Others say that the question of where time comes from is a dumb question. "What does it all matter?" "Time doesn't come from anywhere." "It's just always been here, and we have to make the future." A wise friend once taught me that time comes from God. "He made time," she said, "and he brings us the future."
The question of time seems tangled with other questions like, "Are we going to die?" The Bible and all human experience are clear on the answer. We're all going to die. Until Jesus returns, we all die. We don't know when we're going to die, or who is going to die next. We only know that until the Lord returns in glory death will continue.
Is time good or bad? If time is good it must come from God because all good things come from God, and God does not create bad things. Scripture is clear, however, that God is the creator of good things that have been corrupted by Satan and human sin. So some good things that God created became bad things because of sin. Sin and evil can't create anything, they only corrupt good things that God creates.
But is time a thing that God creates? The Bible relates a story about a king named Hezekiah who fell ill and was about to die. He prayed to God and God answered his prayer by giving him 15 more years to live. God was creating more time for King Hezekiah. God gives us our time and knows exactly how much he gives us. The same can be said of nations. Once there was an important battle involving the Israelite army God wanted them to win, and, to allow them to win he made the day oftbe battle longer so the enemy couldn't escape in the darkness. There are many stories and passages in the Bible that assure us that God is the source and creator of time. Scripture teaches that time wfll run out for the whole world and everyone living. The last book of the Bible tells us how time will end for this world and how God will create a new and wonderful world where time will never run out.
The first book of the Bible teaches important things about God's creation of time. We are told how God created the whole universe including the days and nights through which the universe exists and moves. God created days and nights. On the fourth day he created the sun, moon, and stars to mark the seasons and passage ofthe time-the days and the nights-he was giving. In the biNicM book of Psalms there is a verse that reads, "This is the day which the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it."
The wise friend I mentioned earlier taught me to think of time as flowing from God and coming to us from him moment-by-moment. Once a moment of time has flowed by us into the past, there is nothing we can do to change it, so God wants us to treat each moment wisely and faithfully. It is important for us to receive our moments wisely, because the future moments God gives us are affected by all the moments of time that have gone before. When we sin or act unwisely now, the effects of our actions will be with us and our loved ones in the moments God gives us in the future.
The consequences of our actions for the future moments God brings is a sobering thing to contemNate, but there's a wonderful aspect about it. God is a person who loves us and wants our futures to be happy and joyful. He wants to give us wonderful life forever and ever. In the biblical book of Titus we find the following, "the faith of God's elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness-a faith and knowledge resting on the hope of eternal life, which God, who does not lie, promised before the beginning of time. " There are many hard, sad, and scary moments in life, but if we believe in the Lord Jesus, God will continue with us through the hard moments. Often it will seem that He is with us in the awful moments, but if we trust him we will know, deep within our hearts, that God is there. Often we fail and fall short of what God would want us to be and to do, but, if we confess our sins, he forgives us and keeps helping us to be better, kinder, and more loving toward him and toward others. He helps us to believe in His son Jesus more strongly.
Sometimes when I feel mean, it's almost as though I don't want God to be around; but most times I know I love him and need him. Sometimes when I have doubts, it's almost as though God is not with me to love me and help me. I have learned that all Christians have bad feelings and doubts sometimes, but that God helps us deal with bad feelings and doubts just as with everything else.
In terms of our question about time, one might ask what happens to someone who rejects Jesus and does not believe in him? Will God just stop giving time to a person who rejects His son? The Bible says, no. If we reject Christ and the payment he made for our sins, then when we die the moments we get from God for all of eternity will require the fair and just punishment for the sins and evil we have done against God and other people in this life. The consequences of sin are eternal and so must be the punishment. This is the part we don't like, and the Bible teaches that God doesn't like it either No one likes it, but God has told us that it has to be that way. Some things just have to be the way they have to be.
God sent his son Jesus to die on the cross to pay for all the sins that people have committed or will commit in all of the moments God provides in the present world. If we believe in Jesus, confessing and turning from our sins, then the moments God gives us come with his forgiveness and help. He teaches us how to use wisely the moments he gives.
The Bible teaches that this world which God created will some day pass away. All of us are going to die and have no more moments in this world. But God is going to create a new world so that we who have believed can be with him always, and he will give us wonderful moments in the new world forever and ever, and the marvelous thing is that no matter how wonderful a moment is in heaven with Jesus, the best moment will always be yet to come! God will give us better and better moments forever and ever.