Time. We never seem to have enough of it, are always running out of it, have no control over it, and rule our lives by it. Think about how many times every day you check your watch/phone/Alexa to see what time it is. Nobody likes to be late for an appointment, and time sets the pace for our daily activity.
When someone you love dies, time starts to play tricks on you. Suddenly time stops. You find yourself dwelling on the past, trying to stretch out last moments, and not wanting to move into a future without them. Days and weeks either get stuck in the slow molasses of grief or suddenly accelerate to a holiday you hadn’t anticipated where you get to relive your loss in a new way.
Time in God’s terms, however, is a much altered thing. In Psalm 90 we see a common idea that in God’s perspective, a thousand years is like a day:
Psalm 90 (Common English Bible)
Lord, you have been our help,
generation after generation.
2 Before the mountains were born,
before you birthed the earth and the inhabited world—
from forever in the past
to forever in the future, you are God.
3 You return people to dust,
saying, “Go back, humans,”
4 because in your perspective a thousand years
are like yesterday past,
like a short period during the night watch.
This is what happens when you apply eternity to time. Suddenly centuries of years become like days. In heaven there are no clocks to measure out 24-hour periods of existence. Time simply IS.
The blessing in that for all of us is that our loved ones who have gone before us will experience our arrival as though it is happening right after theirs. The compression and expansion of eternity mean that for them, time is a seamless flow of entry into heaven. So when my father died in 2009, he turned around and there came my mom in 2014, which in eternity was like a day later. Best of all, their lives now are timeless as they rest in our Father’s arms. So too will yours be when you get there “tomorrow.” From forever in the past to forever in the future, God is with us.
5 You sweep humans away like a dream,
like grass that is renewed in the morning.
6 True, in the morning it thrives, renewed,
but come evening it withers, all dried up.
Take some time today to meditate on these things. God has been with you since before he birthed the earth and the inhabited world, and he will be with you forever. Thanks be to God!