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This past Sunday I preached on the fact that God is eternal, that He exists outside of time and is fully present to every moment of time at once. He is the Alpha and Omega, the one who was there in the beginning and will be there in the end. He is the unchanging one, who because He exists outside of time does not change in His character, His truth, His promises, or His purposes. He is the Rock upon which we stand in our faith.
One of the classic passages that speaks to God’s view of time is found in 2 Peter 3:8: “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” The context of this verse is Peter’s rebuke of those who see God’s reluctance to judge people in time and His allowance of evil and interpret that to mean that He does not exist or will not judge us, and that therefore we can live and do as we please. No, Peter says – do not mistake His reluctance to judge as an inability to judge. Instead, he says in verse 9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” His allowance of evil and sin is not because he is not able to judge, but because in His mercy and patience He is not destroying people but giving them opportunity after opportunity to repent of their sins and turn to faith in Him.
Verse 8, however, speaks as well to the sometimes agonizing difference in perception of time between ourselves and God. For Him, a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. For us, the first part often seems true – a day can often seem like a thousand years: unending, intolerable, with seemingly no hope of ever ending. When we feel trapped in a terrible job, a difficult family situation, a situation of declining health, each day can feel like a thousand years. And because we are not eternal, we can not see the end from the beginning but are forever trapped in the present. We do not know how things will turn out, if situations will ever improve, or if we will escape our troubles. Each day can truly feel like a thousand years.
This past Sunday, Taylor Hood shared with us how he has been hired to work at Walgreens Distribution Center. If you know Taylor and the Hood family, you know that this moment has been the fruit of many, many years of hard work, of setback, of tears and frustration. I can only imagine how often the days seemed like a thousand years, how many times the hope of finding a job seemed to be like a flickering flame about to go out. But our eternal God is faithful, and we praise God that Taylor has been given this opportunity to have a job.
I know that the Hoods are not alone in this. Many of you also look at your situation in life and feel that each day is like a thousand years. Your longing to be married, or to have a marriage that is healthy and strong. Your search for a job, or your daily attempts to continue at a job that stresses you out. Your unending health issues. For many of you, each day feels like a thousand years, requiring patience and strength that seems beyond your capabilities.
Take heart in knowing that our God is eternal. He knows the end from the beginning, and His character and His promises and His Word and His plans are sure. “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” (Numbers 23:19). When God says that He is good, that He is trustworthy, that He works all things together for good for those who love Him, He is true to His word, for He is the eternal, unchanging one. Be encouraged, brothers and sisters, and hope in the Lord, for He is our Rock in the midst of an ever-changing, unstable world. Remember the words of James: “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4). Not easy words, to be sure, but nevertheless, the truth of God. The eternal God, the Rock, who knows the end from the beginning, is present in the midst of your struggle, and is at work to make you mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Remind yourself today, brothers and sisters, that God is our Rock, and put your hope in Him.
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