A Frame of Reference:
Scientists have long known that time passes faster at higher elevations, an interesting aspect of Einstein’s theories of relativity that was measured by comparing clocks on the Earth’s surface with clocks on a space-rocket.
Another aspect that I rarely give thought to is GPS (Global Positioning System) relied upon the world over by ships captains, pilots and astronauts – even our ordinary cars are guided by GPS.
The GPS systems are perfectly programmed to compensate for the vast distance between the earth and the GPS satellites in space, which orbit in a different time. Can you imagine the absolute chaos that would ensue if the worlds GPS systems were to fall out of sync with the GPS satellites?
Heaven to Earth ‘GPS’
To live our lives in sync with God’s timing could be compared in a small way to our earthly GPS systems; our hearts can learn to walk in sync with God and trust in his timing, even though his timing often doesn’t make sense to us. This isn’t always easy, because trusting a frame of reference so different from ours can feel scary, even counterintuitive.
God moves outside our concept of time and space. He knows exactly what’s happening at every moment in every part of this universe of ours that spans some 93 billion light-years across. I can barely even get my head around that!
So, in God’s frame of reference, time moves at completely different speeds from ours. This is why the cry “how long oh Lord?” is an age – old one, as God’s children wait for answers to prayer and fulfilment of promises. Our finite minds have always grappled to understand his infinite greatness.
God’s Frame of Reference:
Moses realised something of God’s “otherness” with regard to time, when he wrote these words:
“A thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night”. (Psalm 90:4)
Peter came to the same realisation:
“Do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2 Peter 3:8)
Peter exhorts us, the “beloved” of God, not to “overlook” the fact that God’s timing is nothing like ours; that God “is not slow in the way some would calculate slowness.”
Everything is synced by God in his perfect wisdom.
Ecclesiastes 3 tells us that God “makes everything beautiful in its time” — the time HE purposefully chooses for it. This wonderful chapter in Ecclesiastes captures so perfectly the complex and mysterious nature of time, and the pointers God has placed within our reference-frame to help us to trust the perfect wisdom of his timing.
“He [God] has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
God “made everything beautiful in its time.” The Hebrew word translated in English as “beautiful” means appropriate, fitting, right. God’s “invisible attributes” can be “clearly perceived” in the created order we see and experience (See Romans 1:20) They reveal the wisdom of his purposes — a wisdom far beyond ours. And God intends them to teach us that his “beautiful” timing can be trusted, even when we don’t understand it.
In designing us with “eternity in our hearts,” the “eternal God” created us to know him and fundamentally to trust him, rather than ourselves. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
God is not in time; rather, time is in God.
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.”
“I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.” (Isaiah 46:10)
My Times are in Your Hand
“But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” My times are in your hand; ” (Psalm 31:14-15a)
Our time; every second of our lives is in the hand of the God who holds time itself. However he chooses to work in our times, it’s important that we trust his perfect timing over the relative and unreliable earthbound perspective that shapes our ordinary expectations. Will you trust his timing?