There was, on the wall of my living room, a clock that was fairly large. At least it was large to me as I was just a little girl. It sat on the wall ticking away in continued stillness whether or not I was sitting in front of it or running through the house. And everyday, a few times a day, it would ding and dong and ring out a song that I can remember to this day. It was loud and the sounds rung through my ears and around the room, and never failed to tell me what time it was. Sometimes it told me it was evening and sometimes it rang out the sounds of morning. It was a reliable presence in my childhood home, singing out the song of time in my younger days.
I loved that clock. I was fascinated by it and I never had to second guess what it was telling me. It would play the melody and when I would listen I would believe what it sang to me, whether it be a song, a sonnet, a lullaby in the evening. Although, now that I am older time has become something more complicated. It’s much more philosophical in nature and I have found myself with more questions about time the more I get older, maybe like yourself. Why this time? Why now? Why does this have to happen to me when this time has been a good one, out of all times? And instead of trusting the clock on the wall to sing the chords of time to me, I question the Maker of the sun and the moon that create our calendar and times. I even find myself resenting when time doesn’t suit me. Instead of time being a number I associate with eating or sleeping, time is now the bedrock of my anxiety, restlessness, and distress.
Much like the little girl that I was, I still find that clock singing, but it’s now a bittersweet remnant of the musical notes of what I once knew. I still don’t know what time it is, but I know it is a time. There’s no mistaking it as when time comes sometimes it’s not as beautiful. There are moments when it is clanging of cymbals or the twinkle of a wind chime. Sometimes the sounds are as loud and ringing in my ears as a thousand Grandfather clocks sitting on the morning sun calling me to wake up, because it’s time.
It’s time for silence, time for chaos, time for reflection, time to act, time to cry and time to laugh…
When we grow and experience life we leave the elementary understanding of time. Time no longer becomes the clock on the wall or the number in our heads. Time is feeling, seeing, experiencing. Time is the cries at night, the shouts at the sky, the questions and waiting. It’s the joy in the evening sun and the sadness in the morning light. Time can be the child dying or the elderly smiling. Time has the questions and the answers. Time can be knocking at the door waiting to come in and sit by the fire. It can be stomping out the door, shouting it’s never coming back. Time can be inviting you out to dinner or sitting on the porch at 3am talking and believing just as you are.
Time can be joyful or unbearably painful.
When certain times come, often our first question becomes, “How?” or “Why?”. It’s the universal question of evil. It’s the philosophers chase and the Theologians battle. It has been the riddle of man for centuries and yet there are books and media dedicated to a question such as this.
But the answer is fairly simple. Time is fickle. Time will be ruthless and gracious. Time is not to be measured by how much good there is or how much evil, only by how we worship the One who gave us the time we have.
Time can rain, and we can still walk by faith. Faith that the God of time and eternity will be present. Time can send the sun or the moon on our darkest days but the Holy Spirit can still speak, comfort, and bring us peace, as long as we are trusting in Him. Peace because we know it is His time.
And if the Teller of time and eternity is good and everything He does is good, why wouldn’t His time be good, though painful it can be?
We have to put a number to time and map it out. We have to call in science and astronomy to know where is the time and what does it look like. We must look around and above and below to know what time is ours where we are, but the Maker of time has already told us the time and whatever that time, it is and it was and it will be in His time. He sees the end. He sees the beginning. He sees now and He knows where we are in time. We can be assured that when He does see that He is answering. He has promised us comfort and guidance. He has given grace and mercy. He is goodness and might. That time may bring waiting, it may be suffering or joy unspeakable. Whatever it is, it will be an ephemeral glint upon the window of time as it shines through here into the eternity that He has offered to us.
Now, there are times I enjoy picturing God with a clock.
I imagine it large and magnificent.
I can see it sitting just inside the city gates embellished with gold and diamonds, and every kind of precious stone. A clock in heaven might tick but it’s tick is lasting and vibrates throughout heaven’s seas of gold and amber. His clock doesn’t have numbers or hands. It doesn’t shift in seconds or move with the hours. It simply stands in time of its own accordance of which God has called it forth to be from the beginning of time as we knew it. It measures time in the songs of the choirs of angels. It measures in the pounding of feet that run from the gates to the throne room. It measures in the flapping of the wings that fly in the skies.
It measures in the time of eternity.
What if we measured our time in light of eternity? What if instead of seeing our days as bad or good we saw them as ‘worshipful’ or ‘prayerful’? What if instead of counting how many things didn’t get done or how many things are going wrong we counted how many hours we spent in prayer or God’s Word? We can see our days as another opportunity to get closer to Jesus rather than staring at the hour glass filling up and waiting to see that one dark ominous grain of sand.
Therefore, we should be at peace and be still. We know that there is a time He has given to us to experience life and not only that but, the time is set wherein all of this time; pain, bliss, quiet, chaotic- everything we know will fade and all we will see is the world hereafter.
“For He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has set eternity in our hearts; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)