As Time Goes By ...
Day by day time passes by. The pace is constant. 24 hours and it is the next day. 7 days and it is the next week. Life goes on, step by step with the same pace regardless of whether we think it is dragging or moving way too quickly. Events happen. Milestones in life come along. And God has measured out the days and hours.
Graduations, moving on to new schools, building relationships, marriage, children being born, anniversaries, retirement, grandchildren, and life goes on. King Solomon said "There is a time for every purpose under heaven", and made his list. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) But then he said something else. "He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, He has put eternity into man's heart." (Ecclesiastes 3:11) We love the times, the experiences, the things that have to do with the days and years, the flow of the times of our lives. And we desire eternity, to have the good and beautiful things last.
Even the hard times can form memories that we fondly hold on to. The first apartment, the time when money was short and we were so very careful about the budget. How many couples have I heard look back and reminisce. One of the richest men i know, one time was in a mood to remember. He sat there with his wife and talked with us about the hard times when money and food were scarce; and they talked about the old worn out furniture, the meals they shared, and the time they spent together.
These are times and days we will be talking about for a long, long time. We will talk about the days at home, the events we missed, the special things we had to go through to work or to shop, the problems with money and the things we could not find in the stores. Others will talk about school being out, graduations that did not happen, and the setbacks in finding work and making their way in life. Some of us will talk about loved ones we missed, and funerals with only a few.
I have seen the things that come through social media. Things like this: "Since I have been at home for the last month, the dog seems happier than he has ever been. The cat, on the other hand, looks at me like, 'How come you are still in my house? And there is a lot of "pretending to be going crazy" humor being passed around.
But the days go on and it is like my mother used to say, "This too will pass." Days ahead will be different, and we will get back in the pattern of things being new and different. But we were created to desire a balance between change and things that last. It is in our nature to be in a that balance between the two.
That is why King Solomon comes to his final words on wisdom how he does. In the last chapter of Ecclesiastes he says, "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth ..." (Ecclesiastes 12:1) There is an anchor in the relationship and eternity in belonging to God. Jesus renewed the call of God to know eternity, "And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20)
Did you catch that? Jesus used the name of God, "I Am," and made it part of the promise to be with us to the end of the age. In fact, in the word order in the Greek Jesus did something very interesting. He put the words "with you" in the middle of the words "I Am." It actually reads, "I with you Am ..." The promise "with you" is embedded within the name of God. It is who He is. He is the "with us" God.
And that is exactly what we hear at the end of the Bible. The voice from the throne filled with excitement that "Now the dwelling of God is with Man." (Revelation 21:3)
Lord Jesus, in the middle of things that come and go, when everything in life will pass, help me to find my anchor in You. I am created to live in the hours that are fleeting, and the days that are so full of change. I need the eternity that is in You. Help me hear Your promise of eternity so deep and lasting that You put the promise within the very name of God. And by Your promise, help me then, to live in this world of change with confidence and peace. Amen.
Rev. Mark Willig
Pastor Willig is pastor emeritus of Friends in Christ Lutheran Church.