Saturday, November 21, 2009

Enough time...

If you haven't noticed from little things I've shared here or there...my family loves deep conversations about God. That's what happens when your dad comes from a family of 9, where most are computer engineers whose dinner conversations revolve around the workings of computers, their affect on the world, physics, and more topics that generally fly over my head...and your mother was a people-loving, Bible-studying, talkative Christian. You end up with five kids who, at any given moment, are generally ready and willing to turn the Bible inside out, discussing something.

This can be a problem when we try to understand the things of God with our natural minds. (It's impossible.) But I love it when God steps in, orders the conversation, and gives one of us a revelation like He did yesterday.

So yesterday morning, I was chatting with my youngest brother (online, since he's half a world and, ironically, half a day away on a military base), and he mentioned how he was reading in Genesis where Noah's descendants are listed and how strange it was to think that Noah's son, Shem, outlived nine generations after him. In fact, I just now figured out (though my brother mentioned something about this yesterday)...at the time of Isaac's birth, every single grandfather between Abraham and Shem was still alive. Yet something obviously changed then, for every last one of them died during Isaac and Jacob's lifetime. (Although I never realized, 'till now, that both Seth and Abraham saw Jacob's birth. Or that Isaac was still alive when Jacob died in Egypt.)

But back to yesterday morning. As my brother applied his brilliant brain (he can keep up with my dad better than I can) and his memory of history to this scenario, and he started tossing facts at me.

The Roman empire lasted 600 years... less than a lifetime for Seth, Noah, and many before them. The Roman empire suddenly seemed much less impressive.

Abraham and Sarah had trouble believing that they'd have children, even though Seth hadn't had his first son 'till he was 100...and he was still alive and able to tell them so. I wonder if they talked with Seth--or any of the eight generations between them--about it?

In less than 400 years, one family had spread out over the world and separated enough to form the mighty city of Ur...the country of Egypt...the Indus Valley civilization. And each developed their own religions. Evidently Noah's family took the commission to "fill the earth" seriously. Too bad they didn't remember the God who gave that commission.

Someone who witnessed the flood was still alive when the Pharaohs began setting themselves up as gods. I can imagine what Seth thought about that.

For 800 years during the Dark Ages, the world changed very little in Europe. I never really realized how strange that was.

The last 200 years, technology has changed the world more than the last 2000 combined. In fact, we've come to expect the world to change with every year that goes by.

Then my brother said, "It gives you a new appreciation for how time moves." For that's what we were seeing...that time appears to speed up and slow down. It's not as constant as we think.

It made me think that our fixed idea of Time might not really be all that realistic. We think time never changes. We believe the second is based on something having to do with an atom, that a year is based on the earth's rotation around the sun, and that those things can't change. Yet the Bible says He made the sun stand still and moved a shadow backward.

What if God's been messing with Time all along, and we're clueless? What if both the rotation of the earth and the oscillations of protons and neutrons speed up and slow down at His command?

Or what if Time is tied to God's heartbeat, speeding up when He's doing things, and slowing down when He is at rest? After all, He spans the universe with His hands, and breathes out stars.

After my brother and I signed off, I continued reading where I'd left off in Isaiah the day before. I anticipated the discovery of something having to do with Time, since it seemed that God had led our conversation there...and sure enough, I did.

In Isaiah 48:3-5, God talks about things that He commanded and declared long ago, yet were not fulfilled until, "Suddenly I acted, and they came to pass."

But then, in verses 6-7 He said that He was proclaiming something new "from this time." He said these new things "are created now and not long ago!"

Instantly, I saw that I've somehow come to believe that God was controlled by Time. That because He knew everything that ever has or ever will happen, His actions were limited to what He has always known He would do, even when He knew He would change His mind.

But now I see that He is much farther outside of Time than I can even begin to comprehend. At any time He wants, He can turn the past, present and future (even as He knew it) on end, flipping Time itself inside out.

All those Star Trek episodes that were concerned about preserving the space time continuum...now I see that God's never been concerned about that. If He gives Time a twist that sends it off into a new direction, He can do that...and the Bible will still be just as true in every word because it is His word and came from His dimension outside of time.

It was then, as I was contemplating all of this, that something else struck me.

How often do we decide against praying or reading our Bible because we don't have time? And how often do we fail to start something God asks of us, because there does not seem to be enough time to complete it?


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How foolish and shallow-minded we are! And how little we trust our God! He holds Time itself in His hands. If He has asked us to do something, He is capable of bending, twisting, speeding up, or slowing down time to suit His purposes and complete whatever He desires to do through us. He is more than capable!

We serve a very, very powerful God. I, for one, see that I need to start trusting Him with the time He has given me, for He can multiply it or subtract it as He chooses.

6 comments:

  • Crown of Beauty says:
    Saturday, November 21, 2009

    Wow, this is deep Katie.

    I love you family, but I think I'll be lost in the kind of conversation that you have with one another. Reading the comments on Annie's blog does that to me sometimes, I get lost!

    But I love you all, and I love the thoughts that you share. We are all creatures created by a creative Creator...and so that can only explain why we all have such creative abilities.

    I love talking about Time. You know how chronos time is limited, and kairos time is unlimited?

    And that the time under which God operates is not a line... which chronos is. but is actually a deep dot in which we dwell and discover more of His fullness? I got this idea from Sue Monk Kidd and it never left my heart. It really stuck!

    Well, all for now. (By the way I don't usually go back to read replies to comments I've written, so if you have a reply, you may want to write it on my blog instead...)

    Love you!

    Lidj

  • Katie says:
    Saturday, November 21, 2009

    LOL! You say that, and then you throw chronos and kairos at me, which I've never heard of! I'm fascinated... I'll have to look it up!

  • Annie says:
    Tuesday, November 24, 2009

    WOW, Katie! That brother of ours sure has a brain. Great thoughts. I've looked up the chronology of the generations before the flood, but not after. One thing your discovery made me realize here is the weight of the decision Abram made to leave his people and his father's house. He didn't only leave behind one or two generations. He left everything. That's ... kind of incredible.

    I love how you've depicted here that time is rather fluid and seems to speed up and slow down. Then you said, "Or what if Time is tied to God's heartbeat, speeding up when He's doing things, and slowing down when He is at rest?" And I said, "haha!!" Because that's exactly what I was going to comment once you started speculating! Once - several years ago - Stephanie and Drea and I were praying in my room one night. There came a part of the prayer where we all fell silent and just listened. The only sound in the room was the clock on my wall ticking. All three of us were impressed with the same thought: it sounded just like a heartbeat. That connection makes me think of one passage particularly. In Song of Solomon where (in one translation) it reads, "You have made my heart beat faster, my sister, my bride. You have made my heart beat faster with one strand of your necklace." I think of the wedding supper of the Lamb, and His Bride being presented clean and spotless, without blemish ... dressed and adorned as the most sparkling bride ever seen. And how the thought of that must make His heart beat faster. And these times ... they just speed up faster and faster and faster all the time.

    Selah.

    Good thoughts. Good thoughts. Thanks for sharing.

  • Annie says:
    Tuesday, November 24, 2009

    Oh. I did cover chronos and kairos in my posts on the seasons. Remember those? Kairos is a fixed or appointed time. I know I didn't go into HUGE detail, but ... there's a bit in there. :)

  • Crown of Beauty says:
    Wednesday, November 25, 2009

    Happy Thanksgiving Katie

    Love
    Lidj

  • The little shepherd boy says:
    Thursday, November 26, 2009

    Katie!
    That was impressive! I think this really is the word of God to me. I get so busy with everything that I feel I need to do, I need to spend time with God, but so often I feel awkward when I do manage to sit down at think about him. You are only the most recent person to suggest this very idea of God being in control of time. The other day a lady at church told me "Time spent with God adds hours to the day" I need to get there. I love you.
    -David

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