by Tom Blubaugh
Time is an intriguing phenomenon. Humans measure time in seconds (nano, micro, milli), minutes, hours, days, weeks, fortnights, months, years, decades, centuries, and millennia. Humans have recorded events of time past–history. The future’s an unknown, except for what the Bible says in the Book of Revelation and some answers to questions by Jesus.
Time is crucial in investments. The more time one has to invest the less money and return, or interest is required to accomplish a financial goal. When time diminishes, additional money is required to make up the gap or a higher return’s (more risk) required. Within the world of reality, time is my greatest asset, yet I spend 100% or my daily allotment every day. Time is the one thing I cannot save. I have the illusion of saving time, but I only spend what I appear to save somewhere else.
The first mention of time is in Genesis chapter 1. God created time when He began creation. He created light and separated it from darkness calling the light day and the darkness night—a morning and an evening, which He called the first day. Many argue whether this meant a 24 hour day or a 1,000 year day. II Peter 3:8 states that a day’s like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day to the Lord, but since Genesis 1:1 refers to night and day, morning and evening; my view—it means a 24 hour day. God operated in time twice–during creation and in the earthly ministry of Jesus the Messiah.
God created time for humans. Although He created time, He does not operate in it. Time has no effect on Him. God exists in a realm where there’s no past or future. Only the present. I find this intriguing. I used to get headaches thinking about eternity—still alive a trillion years from now with no end—ever, but one day I read in Revelation 10:6 that time will end (KJV, Wycliffe NT Version, Worldwide English NT), What a relief! In eternity, I’ll live in the present–no past–no future. Think about this blessing for a little while.
Then a thought began to expand in my mind. Since God is not affected by time, when I ask something of Him, in Jesus’ name, He grants it in His time frame–in His present. I, however, may have to live in my realm for a while before I experience His answer depending on who He’s going to use to answer it. Why do I have to wait for answers? I was amazed when I realized that almost all answers come through people. It may take a while for that person to respond. Circumstances may have to be changed. He may have to move mountains to bring about the answer.
I keep a prayer log of my requests and I don’t review it often–maybe twice a year. It always amazes me when I do. I update any activity related to my requests and I often find prayers answered that I prayed so long ago I had forgotten about them. I mean years ago. Prayers I thought He had not answered. I find this faith building.
We as humans tend to see the future as tomorrow and the past as yesterday—today is yesterday’s future and tomorrow’s past—but, in reality the past is one second ago and the future is the next second to come. Every tick of the second hand moves the future to the past 86,400 times a day. The present is the time between the tick and the tock.
I have to understand I have only the present in which to act. That’s–right now. This moment. Only in the present—this second—can I think about the next word I will say. The same with the next action. The wrong word–the wrong action will take my valuable future time to rectify. Perhaps a great deal of time. Time better spent on productive things. On the other hand, a right word or action can bring a multitude of future blessings or a healing for past mistakes.
The Bible tells us how to handle the future and the past. Matthew 6:34 instructs us not to worry about tomorrow. Philippians 3:13 tells us to forget the past. Based on these scriptures I have concluded that when I visit the past with regret, what ifs, and resentments–God stays in the present–and when I travel into the future with worries and uncertainties–God stays in the present—where He works–changes and blesses me. I should stay in the present as well.
One other thing I’ve learned comes to mind. The most memorable time was when I was homeless in 1998. I lost everything–all my retirement, meaningful possessions, except for clothes and a few personal items, my home, my wife, my business, my investments, my income. I remember thinking at age 57–“I’ll have to work every day the rest of my life if I live to 105.” It was overwhelming, discouraging, and depressing. I prayed for a miracle. First I found a job—a miracle to me since I was 57, severely depressed and homeless. You would understand why I call this a miracle if I were to explain the circumstances of how this occurred.
Three years later I received a letter from Social Security telling me that at age 62 I could semi-retire making more money than I could earn working full time at my present job. Until I read that letter, I hated Social Security. As a business owner, I had to pay 15% self-employment tax every year. Some years it was very inconvenient. I never thought I would see a dime of it because my income was too high and I, foolishly, thought it would always stay that way. When I finished reading that letter I was elated. Then I thought of my attitude toward Social Security all those years and said to God–“It’s just like you to take something I hate and bless me with it.”
You may think this next statement is a stretch, but I’m telling you it isn’t. The day I put the first dollar in Social Security, God set in motion the very thing that was going to meet my needs nearly 40 years later—my past—His present—for my future. You might be thinking everyone has to pay into Social Security so it had nothing to do with God. My perspective? For all I know, God gave someone the idea for Social Security seven years before I was born—just for me.