Grace, Time, and the Trump Card

My last entry graciously played hostess to a collection of meandering thoughts on time, rivers, and oxbow lakes. You know I didn’t stop thinking the moment I published it, right? Of course not. Without further ado, a sort of part deux

Time is a slippery concept.

Like good water—time has no color, taste, or smell. It’s fluid: here and everywhere, close and too far away, unmanageable and contained in jar-sized portions called memories.

It is comprised of an insane number of microscopic pieces that make up a whole. Sometimes the bonds between events in time are as difficult to separate as the H2 and O.

Time is experienced inconsistently. If you’re not sure of that, measure 5 minutes at the grocery checkout or traffic light and an equal 5 on a critical deadline or roller coaster. Five minutes is never just 5 minutes.

That’s our experience of linear time. It’s common and basically how we live our lives, for the most part.

And now, for something completely different…

Infinity. What do we do with that word, that concept we can’t begin to absorb in our limited perspective? It’s not a foreign concept in Scripture with over 300 occurrences of forever alone. Think about it. Soak in it. We never quite grasp the elusive eternity. We construct an imperfect, elementary idea in our minds, and it feels long and inevitably boring.

Maybe infinity, eternity, and forever are impossible in our minds because we understand beginnings and endings so thoroughly. God created that for us. Brilliant! Always a beginning and, predictably, an ending. Sometimes I fancy that I know why, but I really don’t.

Genesis. Revelation.
Birth. Death.
Eden. Earth.
Everyday events.
Our whole lives…

Human life is as short-lived as grass. It blossoms like a flower in the field. Psalm 103:15 GW

A voice was saying, “Cry out!” Another said, “What should I cry out?” “All humanity is grass, and all its goodness is like the flower of the field. Isaiah 40:6 CSB

Like flowers? That lands with a soft thud in my heart. Short-lived. How many times have I been overcome by the magnificent beauty of a floral arrangement? Joy-filled days or a week. It fades to an all-too-quick end.

And this is how our world is hard-wired. For good reason!

The trump of the timeline…

God, in his infinite wisdom and power, lives both in and outside of our timeline. He is—

He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together. Colossians 1:17

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “the One who is, who was, and who is coming, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

And he punctuated the timeline for us. Remember the beginning and the end, Eden and Earth, birth and death? God did something. He played a trump card.

Now it was nine in the morning when they crucified Him. Mark 15:25

Perfectly inserted onto our linear timeline from eternity is the death of the God-Man that didn’t have the expected end. Observers expected death. Death of relationships, plans, and dreams. Some thought it was the death of a “problem” in their synagogues. That event, Jesus on the cross, was anything but that! That moment he died meant life!

Infinite, fragrant grace…

No wrinkles. No “wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff.” 2  Here’s where it’s grace beyond measure. From that loving, power-infused moment in time, Jesus addressed all of time, all of the lives that had or would ever live inside it, and all of the sins that had or would ever be done. Steep in this for a minute. Eternal God sent his Son (the God-Man) for us (John 3:16-17).

Think about this:

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!  John 1:29

Which of us is not included in “the world” category?

So then, as through one trespass there is condemnation for everyone, so also through one righteous act there is life-giving justification for everyone. Romans 5:18

Every one of us is, first, under “condemnation” and then has access to “life-giving justification.”

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Romans 8:1

Which of your poor choices, mistakes, or offenses (sins) can eclipse “no condemnation” in Christ? True, this is for those who have found themselves guilty before a holy God and confessed that (Romans 10:9) to be “in Christ Jesus,” but this grace is unlimited and a bit of a complete time buster.

My past, present, and future met the powerful, grace-filled, sacrificial moment on a hill outside Jerusalem one afternoon 2,000 years ago. My Abba—intricately woven throughout my everyday existence and not limited by it—

Linear timeline trumped.

Yeah, I’m wrapping my mind around that today. And it’s beautiful and amazing and overwhelming and understood. Then it begins to slip out of my grasp into the totally incomprehensible.

Thank you, God, that you are not so small that I can understand….

More thoughts flowed here, there, and everywhere.  😉

~Jennifer

Questions to Think About:
Do you find yourself noodling these things, too? What happens when you remember nothing can eclipse “no condemnation” in Christ? What threatens your confidence in this truth? Take that to the Lord in prayer.

The biggest question we face is directly linked to God, whether we believe it or not. No other question weighs more than “Where will I be one minute after I die?” What happens in your heart when you think about that question? (It’s a biggie.)

____________________

1 L’Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time. 1962.

2 Doctor Who: Blink (Episode 3, Season 10). 2007

Scripture references from http://www.biblestudytools.com.

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5 comments

  1. Wow! Great post! What a fantastic analogy of water and time, too! As I was reading about how God perfectly inserted His trump card onto our linear timeline, being a visual person, I imagined power radiating from that point into the past, present and future. It is, indeed, beautiful, amazing, overwhelming and incomprehensible!

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