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?
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?
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.