Messing with time

I wasn’t going to write about the Daylight Saving Time change this month—I’ve said all that I need to say about it in the past. But Julie at cookiecrumbstoliveby has written an excellent post which inspires me to share something that happened yesterday in Bible class. Be sure to read Julie’s post. And if you want to know what I have said in the past about Daylight Saving Time, I know WordPress will provide links at the bottom of this post.

Our class has been working through the book of Isaiah the past few weeks—sometimes one chapter a week, sometimes two, occasionally three. This month we hit the historical chapters in the middle of the book. So yesterday we were studying Isaiah 38, in which Hezekiah is sick and is told that he will die of his illness. He turns his face to the wall and prays, and God hears the king’s prayer and responds with grace, granting him fifteen more years to live and to rule God’s people. As a sign that God will keep this promise, he has the shadow on the stairs of the Temple move backwards, indicating that the sun has shifted miraculously in the sky.

Not one of us could resist linking that miracle to Daylight Saving Time.

We had other important themes to discuss, including the Old Testament view of Death and Sheol, which is much darker than the New Testament’s promise of Paradise, and including the entire idea of prayer. God announces Hezekiah’s death, then appears to change his mind because of the king’s prayer. Does a completely wise and all-knowing God change his mind because of our prayers? Isn’t God unchanging? C.S. Lewis was quoted as saying that, through prayer, God invites us to become his partners, just as he invites farmers to be his partners in providing daily bread through their planting and harvesting. We talked about the love of God, that he is always with us and always wants to hear from us. Thinking how often we ignore his gracious presence and don’t say a word to him, we wandered into considering the times that we are with people we love and we act as if they aren’t there. For many of us, the issue was driving. If we are focused on driving, we might not be ready to carry on a conversation in the car, even if the other person in the car is a husband or wife or son or daughter. (When I pick up my daughter from her fast food job at the mall, she has a lot to say, and sometimes I’m not so ready to listen—I’m driving, and especially if it’s dark and raining, I need to focus on my driving.) But God is never so busy running the universe that he cannot listen to our prayers. And Isaiah 38 shows that he is able to “change his mind”—which is not really a change in the Lord who is the same yesterday and today and forever, but which is a living part of the relationship he has with us, in which he delights to receive our prayers and to respond to them as a loving Father.

Even when we have the temerity to mess with time, which is God’s invention. J.

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7 thoughts on “Messing with time

  1. Cool post, J. I’m sorry that this strays a bit from the topic, but when you talked about the concept of God changing His mind, I thought of King Saul when God says something along the lines that He regretted making Saul the king. What is your take? Did God really “change His mind” or was it all part of a plan?

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    • Excellent question, and not that far off topic. You could also have mentioned Genesis 6:6, where God is sorry he made the world because of all the evil in it, and so he prepares a flood. We know God never changes. When he uses words of himself such as “regret” or “remember,” he is adjusting to our language, the only way he can communicate with us. Allowing the world to drift into evil by the time of Noah, allowing Saul to drift from his earlier excellence, is all part of the plan to prepare the path for Noah, for David, and ultimately for Jesus Christ. J.

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  2. Cool post, Salvageable. The nature of time is something that can really mess with our heads. We live here in linear time, but God exists and operates outside of that framework, something that is very hard for us to wrap our brains around, even in our imaginations. Science, physics, actually confirm that our perceptions of time are woefully inadequate, that “time” doesn’t mean what we think it does. I like those moments when time is suspended and eternal, like five minutes before quitting time. Or better yet, when you’re having so much fun, you don’t realize how much “time flies.”

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    • Did you ever read “Time and Again” by Jack Finney or see the movie “Somewhere in Time” with Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour,.and Christopher Plummer? Both stories rely on the possibility that we can jump into the past by wearing appropriate clothing, surrounding ourselves in a museum setting, and imagining we are in that earlier time. It doesn’t work, of course, but it’s clever fiction. J.

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      • Ha! I did see the movie.

        I kid you not, I sometimes feel as if I stepped back in time, because there’s a lot of history and victoriana around here. One day I went around the corner and walked right into the Delorean car club. So there I was surrounded by “Back to The Future” cars thinking, you know what’s wrong with us??
        We can just never seem to keep our genres straight. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s exactly why I had Jason Hero invest in vacation properties where people could act out their Old West fantasies or their 1950s fantasies, all with the convenience of air conditioning and hot and cold running water. J.

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