“It’s About Time”
Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come... They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 2 Peter 3:2-4,8
While sifting through boxes, I discovered some undeveloped rolls of 35mm film. Film is what we used to put into cameras to take pictures before the days of digital photos and SIM cards! I evidently moved right from one activity to another without taking time to develop film or reflect on the marvelous moments when they occurred. Curious as to their contents I took these 43 rolls of film to get developed. What a blast from the past! Though some film had lost color, they contained memories of mission trips, church gatherings, family times and foreign trips circa 1994-2004. In some way these photographs had allowed me to “save time in a bottle!”
Memories and the rapid passing of time got me thinking. How has life changed in the last 25 years? How have I valued the time? What can I celebrate? What are my regrets? Then I thought of our current age and how Covid-19 has cut time short for many millions of people around the world. I pondered the growing impatience concerning the lack of racial justice. I wondered about poverty and hunger and homelessness that continues unabated in our wealthy society. I considered the paralysis many feel at the slowness of the United Methodist Church to act or resolve differences that are dividing us. Where is God in all of this?
In the book of Exodus, we read about the deliverance of the people of Israel from captivity and slavery. Yet, they were enslaved for over 400 years before freedom came. Where was God for 400 years? What took God so long? In my devotions the other day I read Psalm 22 and the first two verses read, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? ... My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, but I find no rest.” You may recall that Jesus used these words as he hung beaten, battered, bleeding and dying upon the cross. We will never in this life have a satisfactory answer for the “why” questions of life, but we have the faithful witness of so many who have lived godly lives while working toward the beloved community for which they hope. I will not stop seeking answers. I will patiently seek to understand mysteries of God.
As I wait for those mysteries to be revealed I will endeavor to live an Ephesians 5:16 life, “Redeeming the time,” or “Making the most out of every opportunity.” I am so thankful for those old rolls of film that help me remember all the people and opportunities that God has placed in my path. I give thanks for the joys and sorrows, the successes and failures. I will strive to do justly and to love mercy (Micah 6:8). Rather than complain about what is, I will work to build the future that can be. Jesus said, “Behold the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). May we be alive to the presence of God and share the Good News with others. God is with us.
Gracious God, I trust you and love you even when the world and my life seems out of sorts. Help us to value the time you give us and celebrate that you are at work in our lives and the world, even when we cannot clearly see what you are doing. Amen.