Thursday, January 18, 2018

Time marches on

Paul Baines | @ICFWriters

Time is a curious thing. It exists. We can measure it and we are aware of its presence. Yet we cannot touch it. We cannot hold it in our hands or store it in jars. It may appear to travel at different speeds and, according to the theory of Relativity, it actually does, but we cannot stop its relentless march onward.

It is now well into 2018. I remember in 1978 as a ten-year-old reading about the year 2000 and being astonished. I tried to imagine so far into the future. I tried to picture being so incredibly old.

Someone once said that we do not conceptualize about space and time. Rather we conceptualize within space and time. Trying to imagine no space or no time is impossible for us because we were designed to exist within it. So you could say that we are prisoners of time. There is no escaping it. The clock is always ticking. In 1978 I could not imagine living to 2000, and yet it came and went just as 2017 did.

As a sci-fi writer I enjoy playing with time. While I believe time-travel is impossible, it can be used to great effect to tell stories. Who of us hasn't wished we could turn back the clock and do things differently? This past year has been a painful reminder for me that things done cannot be undone. If time-travel were possible I would be the first to sign up, even if it was just for a few seconds so that I could tell my wife that I love her one last time.

As a Christian, I often wonder about when Jesus will return. He lived and died 2000 years ago. At the time the New Testament was written, His return was seen as imminent. You can almost feel the anticipation within the pages. In the lead up to 2000, prophecies of Jesus' return sprang up like mushrooms. I remember watching Gloria Copeland discuss starting a new teaching series--if they "had time". That was in 1997 and all those prophecies were proven wrong.

Last week I heard a Christian speaker talking about Isaiah and his prophecies of the Messiah. I have always known that Isaiah foretold the coming of Jesus, but something the speaker said struck me straight between the eyes. I had heard it before but it never sank in. Isaiah's prophecies of the Messiah were made 700 years before the events actually took place.

Think about that for a moment. It would be like someone in the Middle Ages predicting events of today. Or somebody 150 years before Columbus discovered America prophecying that Donald Trump would be president of a country that would not come into being for another century and a half.

In 2 Peter 3:8 it says "With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day."

I find great comfort in this scripture because it show that, in God's calendar, 700 years is only a brief period of time and 2000 is not much longer. Jesus may return today or it may be in another 2000 years. Only God knows. All I know is, I want to be ready.


  1. Me too, Paul! A great reminder. The bottom line is that God does know and we need to be ready.

  2. So true, but my days feel like about 5 hours.