Aug 12, 2016

God is ETERNAL



I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end,” says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.”

(Revelations 1:8)


The Energizer Bunny commercials debuted in the 1980s and yet we can still hear the "it keeps going and going and going ..." mantra whenever this battery commercial is mentioned. The battery is made to sound like it is timeless. And yet, it's not. Regardless of the type of battery you have, it will eventually die and need to be replaced, or need recharging to be reused. Nothing in the world lasts forever, not even diamonds (though the "diamonds are forever" saying goes back to 1930s). We all have a beginning and we all have an end, as much as we don't want to think about it. We don't last forever. Millions of dollars are spent on cosmetic surgery or expensive cars to make people try to fight it, but the truth remains. We are not eternal.

But God is eternal. God is unbound by time. He is never early nor late. He exists above and beyond the constraints of time.  
"The Bible begins with a time stamp, "in the beginning," and then spends sixty-six books desribing the God who decrees seasons and times but is not bound by them in the least. Free to act within time as he wills, he exists outside of it. He is simultaneously the God of the past, prsent, and future, bending time to his perfect will, unfettered by its contraints . . . he was, and is, and is to come." (Jen Wilkin, None Like Him, p. 71).
There is none like Him in His eternality.  God is generationless and timeless. Time has no hold on him but He determines our time.  In the first two verses Psalm 90, Moses expresses this truth in his prayer:
Lord, through all the generations you have been our home!
Before the mountains were born,
before you gave birth to the earth and the world,
from beginning to end, you are God.
God's time is unlimited but ours is not. Moses understood this, which could be why he followed with these words: "Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom" (v. 12). In other words, there is wisdom in knowing that our life is short and will eventually have an end, while simultaneously knowing that God is not limited in that way at all. 

"Life is short!" and "YOLO!" are typically what you hear when people do crazy things like jump out of airplanes, but really, despite the cliché and overused sayings, they're true. We only have one life to life and it really is pretty short in the grand scheme of things. This shouldn't give us a license to do stupid things, but rather to see every day as an undeserved gift of God's grace. Each day has purpose.  Being aware of our own limit of time can help us stay focused on living in the present. Paul preached this to the church in Ephesus as he told them to redeem the time: "Look carefully how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time" (Ephesians 5:15-16). 

In her book None Like Him, Jen Wilkin suggests three ways to live in the present, redeem and make the best of the time we have today:

1) Let go of the past. 
Stop idolizing past seasons that seem better, simpler, or more fun. Nostalgia can become dangerous because it robs us of contentment in today if we are constantly focusing on the past. "There is a difference between missing the past and coveting the past. The antidote for covetousness is always gratitude: We can combat a sinful love of the past by counting the gifts we have been given in the present," (p. 75).  

But maybe we are not focusing on the good seasons in the past, but rather we are filled with regret for past hurt, sin, or foolish decisions. Regret robs us of joy in the present as we rehash painful past events. If you have asked God to forgive you of those past sins, you do not need to continually recycle that guilt! If you are focusing on sin that was done against you, that does not define who you are today! I would recommend working through some of that pain and regret with a trusted counselor, preferably someone who is willing to include your Christian faith in the healing process. Don't let neither regret of the past nor nostalgic longing for the past rob you of living in the present.

2) Let go of the future
Leave the future in the future. We can lose joy in the present when we either covet or dread the future. Coveting the future is "seeing a future life stage as an escape from the present one" (p. 76). It's focusing on "when I get married...", "when I have children...", "when the children are out of the house..." rather than focusing on the joys of the current season in which you are planted. Conversely, fearing uncertainty and the dread of negative things that could happen feeds our anxiety towards the future. We can prepare for the future, but we must also surrender our uncertainty and fears to God, trusting that He is eternal and already knows what the future has in store. One of my favorite quotes is by Corrie ten Boom: "Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God."

3. Live today fully
Living in the present and redeeming the time includes fighting the temptation to be apathetic and lazy while also fighting busyness. Do excuses for missed deadlines and procrastination mark your work, whether at school, home, or in the office? Do you waste time on things that end up stressing you out or just lose your focus on your priorities? For me, the answer is sometimes yes to both of these questions. 

The other side of the pendulum can be just as dangerous. When we are overworked and obsessed with productivity, we lose focus on today as well, because we have no time to dwell on anything other than the busyness around us. It's not wrong to be productive, but when we are losing joy, peace, rest, and time with God and people because of being so busy, we must evaluate why we are so  compulsively busy all the time and whether we are making the best use of our time.

Living in the present can look different for everyone. For me, it is taking sabbath and selah moments throughout the week. Greg and I try not to be busy on Sunday other than attending church in the mornings. We rest (I typically don't cook or do any chores on Sundays), we hang out at home and we do things that give us rest and refreshment. I try to carve out periods in my week when I can practice selah, a pause in the busyness of life to give thanks to God whether that looks like journaling, taking a walk, reading a book that teaches me about His character, painting or using color pencils in my journaling Bible to meditate on a Bible verse I am learning, or just being still and focusing on His promises and truth. 


God is eternal. We are not. We can trust that time cannot limit him like it limits us. We can trust that He sees our past, present, and future and still loves us with an unfailing love. We can trust that He is the ultimate redeemer of time and that we can learn to grow in redeeming our days as well. And we can look at today as a gracious gift from God and find joy and peace in the present, no matter the circumstances.


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Reflection:
How should the knowledge that God is eternal  change the way I live?
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Catch up on posts from None Like Him series HERE

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely love this. My husband is going through a season right now where he's really stuck in the moment and wants to get back to the past or fast forward to the future- anywhere but here. This resonated with me a lot. I appreciate everything you've said and you're a beautiful writer (also cute as a button). God bless!

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