Ecclesiastes 3:11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also he has put eternity in man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
It's New Year's Eve. This post has been rolling around in my head for several weeks now and as I watch the Twilight Zone marathon, I couldn't think of a better time to take my thoughts to the keyboard. Most everyone knows that sin entered the world when Eve made her fateful decision to choose the promise of knowledge over the peace of God. Whenever we encounter the unthinkable or the unfairness of this world we are apt to say, "It's a sinful world we live in." And while sin is something with which we all contend and the reason Jesus came to die for us, I find something else plagues us (me) almost as much - time.
If you spend a little while in any type of counseling or therapy you will learn that depression is often an inability to escape the past and anxiety is often too much focus on the future and its unknowns. Our country is plagued with depression and anxiety - which are really all about time. We look back and regret the past or mourn over what could have been and we fear what may or may not happen in the future. As mortal men, we long to control the clock and while sin is what ultimately separates us from God, being controlled by time must surely be a close second.
God stands outside of space and time. God is constant - He calls Himself, The I Am. He was and is and ever shall be. I'm sure you've sung these lyrics in hymns and worship tunes but have you really every considered them? God does not struggle with past and does not fret about the future. He exists in both places all at once and is present with you this very moment. Nothing surprises Him and nothing plagues His thoughts about yesterday. That is why the best place to be is in His presence - fully present, fully at peace.
So what did God do about this time thing? How does God help us to reconcile the struggle? As the verse says, He places eternity in our hearts. He places the longing to live forever within us; the yearning to escape the horizontal line on which we live. Most every culture and world religion seeks to grasp and explain eternity. Christ followers are guaranteed the eternity that is placed deep within their hearts the minute they trust in Jesus. While depression and anxiety still plague us while we reside on this planet we are promised that every tear will one day be wiped away - when we take the last breath here and step into eternity with Jesus. And for those who don't know Jesus yet, I wonder if the struggle and the search is really about reconciling the longing for eternity that God placed in their hearts.
It's tempting to recap the year and make goals for the next. There's nothing wrong with that. God often calls us to remember and note where we have been and what He has done. God is not opposed to plans and structure. This year, I'm focusing more on the presence of God and being present with God - I'll choose to remember that only God can exist in the past, present, and future and the best place for me to be is at His feet.