This past summer, I did a lot of traveling. I love traveling. It gives me time to think, to reflect, to wonder, etc. It is also a great head-clearer and a nice breath of fresh air.
There was one day I was traveling from Nashville (home sweet home) back down to Decatur after visiting my brother for a few days and it hit me that most of my life can be drawn out based on I-65. Every where I have ever lived, with one exception, has been off of that interstate and it made me think about my life and time and God and physics and space and more (as you can imagine, riding in a car with me is a blast).
Let me draw this out for you a little bit. I was born in a city called Decatur. It is located in North Alabama in what people call the Tennessee Valley. It is right off of I-65 on exit 334. That is where a lot of my family is from and where some good friends of mine live. A few months after I was born, my family moved to Nashville, TN. My home and where I claim to be from.
*Side note: No, I am NOT from Decatur. I was BORN there. I am FROM Nashville. There’s a definite difference there. I digress..
Nashville would become the city that I love and will always call home. Nashville is also off of I-65. I would spend the next 18 years there and experience life to its fullest. The high school I attended, Goodpasture, was right off of I-65. There’s a huge billboard for it, actually. There was one time when my family moved back down to Decatur for a short period when I was 15 years old. It was for just a few months and we moved back up to Nashville within a year.
Fast forward a little bit to 2011. The day I graduated from high school, my parents moved to Athens, TN. This is the one exception I was talking about and we will get back to this a little later on.
In August of that year, I moved down to Montgomery, AL to start college at Faulkner. Montgomery is, of course, right off of I-65.
In March of that next year, I would get a job offer from a good friend of mine to work with him at a church north of Birmingham. The church was literally right off of I-65 (no joke, you can see it from the interstate). At this point, we had a house in Warrior, AL which is just north of Birmingham where I got to experience and learn to love the city of Birmingham – right off of I-65.
I spent all four years of college in Montgomery at Faulkner, two of those years, I spent driving up to Birmingham every other weekend doing church work. I’m sure a substantial amount of my driving career has been spent driving on I-65. That stretch of road means a lot to me.
I can drive up and down it all day long and let thoughts just flood my head of memories, good and bad, laughs, tears, smiles, and more.
It’s interesting when you can look at your life in a some-what line and then survey it from end-to-end and be able to piece together a significant representation of your life. At least 90% of my life’s story could be told while driving up and down that highway.
Then I started thinking about God.
And time. And space. And the universe we live in.
Isn’t time a crazy thing?
I mean, when I just think about it, my brain begins to hurt.
I think Dr. Seuss said it best:
How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here
before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?
We always talk about time and how we want more of it and how there aren’t enough hours in the day and how if we could just live in the moment, we would jest experience a different level of life. Time is a hot topic for us humans.
Imagine you life as a film strip. Humans view time as a consistent flowing sequences of event. An example might be the earth’s complete rotation on its axis, or the earth’s journey around the sun one time; or when your best friend died, or when your parents got a divorce, or when you scored the winning shot at the buzzer, or when you watched your daughter graduate from college. We all view and measure time in different ways.
Time also doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
Now, where does God get thrown into this?
Well, he doesn’t.
He doesn’t get thrown in because He made it.
Instead, God throws time into everything.
What does God think about time?
What was time before there was time?
Did God make time?
All fantastic questions that you can think about on your own! In fact, I would love for you to leave your idea on these questions in the comments below!
Back on topic, time is weird. What if we have a God that, instead of viewing our lives as indefinite forward time like we do, views our lives in a third dimension? Let me explain what I mean.
Three dimensions means height, width, and depth. It’s what we all live in every day. Depth is what gives us that extra dimension and separates us from those horrible XY axis we studied in geometry. So, what if God could take our life, our little film strip, and look under it, from up top, from behind, from the side, backwards, inside out — you get the point.
2 Peter 3:8 probably came to some people’s mind, or maybe you are thinking about the beginning of the world. Or maybe you are thinking about the billions of years the earth has been sailing through the solar system at 30 km/s (roughly 1,000 mph).
What do you think God thinks about time?
What if God, or whatever word you want to use for God, has a 3-Dimensional view of time?
A God that can step back from the linear happenstance that is our film strip and look at from every single angle? He can watch it backwards, forwards, upside-down, from underneath, or up above. Like we are the DVR and God has the clicker.
God is very careful with his placements.
Think about this in regards to prayer. God has a unique and precise way of placement. He puts so much thought and care into our lives that we can’t even understand the bigger picture. We can’t look at our lives from all angles like God can.
We live in the popcorn society. We expect everything to be ready for us right when we ask for it. It’s really hard when our time doesn’t work with God’s time.
Now, a quick little note about living in Athens. That is when my life took a definite turn. Just for the sake of illustration, pretend the few months I lived in Athens as the ‘dark time’ because it was the one time in my life I did not live on that interstate I have come to love so much. It was new phase in my life, a time of transition, wonder, and worry. I was leaving a city I loved, a school I loved, a people I loved, and moving to a new city, and eventually a new state for college. My head didn’t know what to think. I didn’t want to move to Athens. Going to school in Montgomery was not my first choice. But I know one thing — I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for any of it.
Now, you skeptics will say that it was all just happenstance or that things could have worked out differently and I would be saying the exact same thing, but that only helps prove my point. God knows what is best for us, even when there is a mountain staring us in the face and our only option left is to climb it.
When there is a dark moment on our film strip and we don’t know how we will make it out, or where we are going to go, or where God is and why he hasn’t come through for us yet and made this whole thing go away. . . It’s because he can see the full film strip and he knows what is in store for you next. He knows how this situation can make you an entirely new, fresh, and beautiful creation.
When life is in it’s worst seasons and we can’t really see the light on the other side, it is easy and natural to sit in the dark and grow complacent, and angry, and bitter towards the light. It treated you so good before. It gave you the winning shot at the buzzer, but then it left and you ended up tearing your ACL as you kissed your athletic career goodbye. Or it gave you that scholarship you really needed to go to college but now it has left and you can’t walk across the stage on graduation day because you flunked out 2 years ago and can’t make ends meet ever since. Or, it gave you a loving family or friend who has always been there when you needed them, but now it has left and you are left standing at your husband’s/wife’s/son’s/father’s/mother’s/aunt’s/best friend’s funeral and you can’t imagine taking another step off that grave side knowing they won’t be there next time you need them to lean on. . .
Time is a weird thing. It comes in seasons.
Like anyone from House Stark would say
“Winter is coming”
The thing about Winter is that there is always a Spring.
If you have come out of a dark season previously and you feel compelled to share it, please do. There are so many people around us who need a reminder that the darkness does come to an end.
Those of you who are in a dark season, please know that there will be a time when you see light again.
Like I posted last week, my shirts are still for sale. If you order a tee shirt or have already ordered one, make your own testimony about the dark times you have come through and share it with others to help us all remember that He is always with us.
In the words of Albus Dumbledore:
“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times if one only remember so turn on the light”