Recently I discovered that it was railroads that brought the concept of ‘time zones’ to the US about 150 years ago. Up until then, each town set its own clock by the sun which was not a problem when people seldom traveled or if they did, were on horseback or carriage. But, as the rails were laid and trains began to transport greater numbers of people, keeping schedules became important. So standardized time was needed. To adapt those schedules, the railroad companies came up with the idea of dividing the United States into time zones.
Today we live by our clocks, incredibly scheduled lives, packed with dates and deadlines! But, are our lives synced with Heaven’s time? Are we living with an awareness of God’s time?
I read this line in the Christmas story of Luke – “While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born.” (Luke 2:6, NIV) Paul tells us that “when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4-7 ESV) From the timeless, eternal Father, Jesus came to us about 2000 years ago in Judea. Why then, not a century earlier or later? The mystery is hidden in the mind of God but the fact revealed is that when He was ready, He acted. Something that seemed so inconsequential, another baby’s birth in an obscure village at the edge of the Empire, was to become the pivotal event for humanity and for us. That baby was Jesus, God come to us, to save us and to restore our place in the Father’s household, beloved children.
And He was act, again, in His time to change history once again. “At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.” (Matthew 24:30, NIV) When will that be? No one but God, the Father, knows. But on some ordinary day, when the sun has risen just like a thousand days before, the sky will suddenly be lit up with a divine radiance and the King will return for His Church, to bring justice and peace for which those who love Him are longing.
Are you living on Heaven’s standard time? Is your heart beating in time with the Father’s heart, your steps ordered by the cadence that is called by the Spirit?
This Christmas week, as we bring Advent to a close with the celebration of the Birth of Jesus, let’s renew our hope in the Return of the King.
Here is a word from the Word. “I don’t think, friends, that I need to deal with the question of when all this is going to happen. You know as well as I that the day of the Master’s coming can’t be posted on our calendars. He won’t call ahead and make an appointment any more than a burglar would. About the time everybody’s walking around complacently, congratulating each other—“We’ve sure got it made! Now we can take it easy!”—suddenly everything will fall apart. It’s going to come as suddenly and inescapably as birth pangs to a pregnant woman.
But friends, you’re not in the dark, so how could you be taken off guard by any of this? You’re sons of Light, daughters of Day. We live under wide open skies and know where we stand. So let’s not sleepwalk through life like those others. Let’s keep our eyes open and be smart. People sleep at night and get drunk at night. But not us! Since we’re creatures of Day, let’s act like it. Walk out into the daylight sober, dressed up in faith, love, and the hope of salvation.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-8, The Message)
Lord, give us ears to hear what You are saying to us. Keep us ready for the moment when time is no more and the blessedness of Eternity envelopes us. Amen.
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
Come, Thou long expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free.
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art.
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King.
Born to reign in us forever,
Now Thy gracious Kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit,
Rule in all our hearts alone,
By Thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.