Living in the Eternal Now of God
God is the great I AM. He is the Alpha and Omega, putting Himself squarely and decidedly outside of time. He is timeless, and we’re supposed to be just like Him. Even Einstein said, “The distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
Time? God is outside of it. I knew that every other thing about God we should aspire to live into – His holiness, His strength, His love. I understood how all that can work in our natural world, but timelessness? Didn’t He create this world with time, and then place us inside of it? God is eternal, but didn’t He make it so that we don’t have everlasting life on this earth, in this world?
God created time because it says in Genesis there was evening and morning. There are lights in the heavens to separate the day from the night, that are signs for seasons and days and years (Gen. 1:13,14). That’s pretty clear that He thought it up, and created time, and then put us where it is.
Which is why, of all the quantum revelations I wanted to experience, the one thing I had been most challenged with was the whole dimension of time. Its apparent fluidity and how could timelessness ever apply to me? Since God created time, I don’t really see how, or that I even should, try to live outside of it.
Especially, because I was extraordinarily aware of time, and how little I always used to feel I had of it. I lived in a constant state of rush, and thinking about what’s next and getting on to it. I even managed to get 3 speeding tickets in just one year! I knew time well, and it would bear down on me at every turn.
So let’s re-visit the original question: Did God create time in this world, and put us inside of it? Well, sure He created time. But no, He didn’t put us in time, as in, under the constraints of it. We did that to ourselves. He made seasons and time and hours and days, but He also created us to be eternal. To live forever (Gen. 3:22). There was no death before sin. And without death time becomes irrelevant, or at least fairly inconsequential.
Even though there was time – there was no end to it. With infinite amounts available and it never running out, it’s as if it doesn’t exist at all. There’s so much of it, the confines of time itself were never something we were meant to have to deal with or live under or be “oppressed” by. That was a result of the Fall and the curse. Death for us, and even the world started passing away. But it was not God’s original intention or design.
So Now What?
How do we tend to view time? We say we’re pressed for time. Or we’re really in a time crunch. Or what about all of our deadlines? I don’t want to be pressed, crunched or dead!
Of course I’m not suggesting we should stop using watches or clocks. There is a time that a flight is scheduled to depart, and it’s just easiest all the way around if I show up at the designated time and place. For now it does seem most convenient to simply arrange a place and time to meet a friend for lunch. So yes, I do use time for that. I use it though; it’s not the boss of me.
In the Garden of Eden, time was not their god. God was their God. But for me, I am so often tempted to be a slave of time, to let it be my taskmaster. Surely if I’m to be a good steward of the limited amount of time I have on the earth, I should hurry up accomplishing some noble ministry and worthwhile goals!
However, let’s consider Jesus. He had some pretty significant things to do for God, what with redeeming fallen humanity and saving the world. He had less time here on earth than I’ve already had, but even with His ambitious mission, he still found time to live. He got alone with God. He played with children. He slept. With all there was to do in the world, He still had the perspective that #1 – it wasn’t all for Him to do, and #2 – He didn’t let time rule His life.
Because being in a hurry diminishes us somehow. It’s not something that kings or priests ever are. If they’re in a hurry, you’re tempted to think they’re an imposter. So to allow myself to be pressured by time diminishes almost every other thing about me and my work and even my great intentions. Hurrying it takes away from it.
So I don’t want time to rule my life. I don’t want it to drive me anymore. Like a rancher drives his cattle, with force and pressure, I don’t want that. But time is a part of the world I’m living in, so I will use it as it suits me best. It can still drive me, but in a different way. I had a dream and it encouraged me that I am successfully living into this new understanding. The dream was about time, and in it, I was being driven. But I was being driven by a chauffeur. So yes, time can drive me – but as my servant. To the degree that it’s a helpful blessing to keep everything from all running into each other, great! I’ll take it. Like the Sabbath, time was made for man, not the other way around.
Philip was translated, changing locations outside of the confines of time and how long it should take to get somewhere. Jesus saw all the kingdoms of the world in a moment in time. God massaged Elijah’s relationship with time when he outran the chariot. The shadow moved backward 10 steps for Hezekiah, and the sun stood still for Joshua. Widows’ sons in both Old and New Testaments were raised to life. Not to mention Lazarus! All of these were definitely serious movings of time around people. Actually, every time God heals someone of “terminal” cancer or heart disease, He’s extending life and manipulating and adjusting time and people’s relationship to it.
The Edge of Time
It makes me think of when I was growing up and we rented a farmhouse, complete with fields and barbed wire fences. I picture that there is a fence of time around the physical world, but whenever God wants He can lift up that fence wire and I can slip underneath and into a timeless dimension and experience all manner of extraordinary and wonder-filled things.
Then when I’m done, I slide back over through that fence of time and am pretty much right where I was, time-wise, to begin with. Like Narnia. They grew up and lived an entire life on the other side of the wardrobe, and then when they came back it had just been an afternoon. A day is like a thousand years and God is I AM (not I was or will be), so I want to be present and live into the eternal now of God.
How does that play out in real life? If we don’t worship time, does that mean we should just mosey and meander as slow as molasses through life? Not paying attention to time at all and taking forever to go anywhere or get anything done? Hardly. While I do believe this revelation of time has changed absolutely everything for me… it’s also changed almost nothing at all.
Because more than anything, it’s an internal shift. It’s how I see time and life and my place in it. Just like How to Walk by the Spirit teaches – it’s what is my underlying attitude and motivation? What is the spirit level reason for my doing whatever I’m doing?
Fast or Furious?
Because there’s an important distinction that I don’t want to miss: We can still move quickly and efficiently through our day and our lives, even perhaps as “fast” as before. Really, the difference on the outside can be quite subtle. It’s a change on the inside that lets us move quickly, but from a place of inner peace and strength and grace.
Because fast is fine. Speed is fine. There is a big difference though between being fast and being in a hurry. They’re not the same thing. It’s the difference between moving quickly and being rushed. It’s the heart and spirit motivation that’s at issue, not so much the outward actions.
Hurried, rushed, pressured – those are all underlying feelings, thoughts and motivations – that are causing the speedier behavior. There’s nothing wrong with speed. But if it’s caused by a hurried spirit, that’s not something we want.
What is ever better when it’s done in a hurry? Nothing I can think of. At first I thought maybe race car drivers or competitive athletes; those races should be done in a hurry. But no. Again, those races are done quickly and with speed. They race fast, but if they’re good at what they do and actually win their competitions, those racers are not in a place of panic, rush or stress. They need to be centered down and acting from a place of calm and inner peace if they’re going to not crash their cars at 200 mph.
Though, there is a place for adrenaline. It’s all well and good as long as it’s not pumping through our systems several times a day for no reason other than we’re running a few minutes late. That’s just not how God designed our bodies to live and run optimally.
Nature is an even better example. Consider a cheetah – the fastest animal God made. He moves quickly, but does it gracefully. He runs fast because he wants to. He’s powerful and intentional. Fast, but not hurried. Quick, but not rushed. We can be like the cheetah.
We just don’t want to be like a chicken, running around with its head cut off! Sure he’s moving fast too, but the motivation is totally different. He’s afraid and moving out of compulsion. Although he’s moving fast, he’s really not going anywhere, running around in circles, worried about dying. And really, isn’t that what we’re ultimately worried about if we worry about time? What are we going to be able to squeeze in and accomplish and have and be and do before we die?
Is It a Trap?
It’s great we’ve decided we want to keep a timeless perspective, even in the midst of a world on time. But how? How do I prevent my spirit from being hurried and the cortisol (stress hormone) from flowing, and how do I keep God as God in my life and let nothing else, including time, be in charge?
I do it by seeing. I had a vision of a cage that was trying to trap me. It was big and metal and cold and hard and it came down towards me at an angle, trying to cover over me and keep me inside. The cage was Time, attempting to confine me and press me in from all sides, keeping me in lock down, gripping me and controlling me and enslaving me.
I found though if I looked at it, intentionally observed it for what it was – a trap – that that would stop it in its tracks and it wouldn’t be able to come down over me. So if I could see time the way God sees it, not something that I need to feel confined, rushed or trapped by, then I in turn won’t be confined or pressured or trapped by it.
Seeing it was the key to halting it and that was confirmed in the word that I kept feeling, which was “seer”. I need to be a seer, and that will help me be free and timeless. Except the word that I saw was “sear”, not “seer”. What’s a “sear”? I didn’t know, so I dictionary.comed it and found one of the definitions for “sear” was a part of a gun.
A Seer or a Sear
A gun? I asked my colleague about it. He told me that the sear’s job is to prevent the hammer from moving forward when it’s not supposed to, which in turn prevents the gun from firing and going off when it shouldn’t. If the sear does its job, nothing can move forward when it’s not supposed to and the bullet remains stationary and un-shot. No accidental explosions.
I take this to mean that if I do my job as a seer and look at the vision of time God gave me and see it how He does, that will keep me from moving forward – rushing and hurrying – when I’m not supposed to. If I do what I’m supposed to do and look to see from God’s perspective of being timeless, that will keep me from “going off” and exploding with stress and pressure.
And you know what? That’s actually been working pretty well! As entirely subjective as this exercise appears to be, it’s confirmed by Phil Mason in his excellent book, Quantum Glory. He quotes British physicist Paul Davies, “one of the world’s leading authorities on time and its relationship to space, and he has concluded that time is a product of the observer rather than an objective attribute of space.”
Wow! No wonder that just by altering my perception of time, now I’m peaceful and relaxed. I’m not stressed out. I feel rest as a state of being.
An Excuse for Sunsets
But I guess it all then begs the question, now that I know what time isn’t supposed to be, not my god or a cage or a controlling master of my destiny… why then did God invent time in the first place? While I’m sure there are many answers to this question, my current personal favorite is sunsets.
What is time? What makes it up? Days, seasons, years. Well, seasons are lovely! Who doesn’t appreciate the variety of gorgeous fall leaves and new spring bulbs and all the rhythms of nature? And we’d all agree there is no better way to start each morning than a bright and beautiful sunrise.
So could it be, at least in part, that that’s what time was originally about? For our pleasure and blessing? Maybe time was just a good excuse for God to create sunsets, because He loved hanging out with us in the Garden in the cool of the day. Maybe He thought time would be a perfect reason to paint the sky glorious colors so we’d all have something to look at and enjoy as we walked and talked and shared life together.
Of course everyone can view time however it most empowers them. But for me, I think I want to keep it this new way. It takes the pressure off and enables me to live at peace. I can remain timeless even within time. I can be the cheetah and I can be the seer. And whatever I’ve thought time was or whatever I’d made it out to be, perhaps more than anything else it was a reason for God to paint the sky.
And maybe…just maybe… time was an excuse for sunsets.
Want to go deeper?
For more on living timeless, check out Chapter 14 of Everyday Angels and its corresponding video session, The Eternal Now of God.
Cheetah photo credit: www.kewlwallpapers.com