Time is a peculiar thing. Ask any scientist to fundamentally define time, and the honest ones will likely shrug their shoulders. Why do we remember the past but not the future? Why does time move forward and not backward? Spatial dimensions like distance aren’t that bad, but time… well time is a bit of an enigma.
Obviously God in His sovereignty and grace has constructed us to experience time as we do. We are completely and totally oblivious to what will happen in the future, save one small detail. We know that we will die unless the Lord returns. This is the only future fact we know with certainty about our lives. Isn’t it odd that we know only one future fact about ourselves? Yet, isn’t it gracious that God grants us that knowledge? Animals do not know that they will die, even though they will, yet God has granted humans this knowledge. Understanding that we will die is one of the foundational pillars on which the truth of the Gospel stands. Like the other creatures he created, God could easily have left us completely unaware of our impending doom, but He didn’t. Part of his gracious gift of salvation includes giving mankind the future knowledge of death. Isn’t that amazing?
There is more to time that is peculiar. Even though there is no limit to how finely you can divide time, that is, a millisecond is longer than a nanosecond which is still longer than a picosecond; nonetheless it seems as though God has ordained that the day be the most natural unit of time. We live our lives in increments of days. We think of the day we start school. The day we graduate. The day we marry. The day we welcome in our first child. The day our last child leaves the home. The day our spouse dies. The day we die. Life is demarcated in days. This too seems to be from the Lord’s hand. This seems to be the cycle He has ordained.?
A fundamental truth in Scripture that I often miss is that we do not know what tomorrow will bring (James 4:14, Matthew 6:34). Yet, I’m slowly discovering that this is remarkably comforting and encouraging when I remember Romans 8:28. If I knew in a week I would suffer some trial, would I not spend the next 6 days paralyzed by fear? Likewise, if I knew my greatest hope would be answered in 3 weeks time, would I not spend the next 21 days daydreaming about it. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, and that is very good indeed!
For me, the normal life day that I most look forward to right now is the day I ask a girl to marry me, and she (perhaps naively and ill-advised) says yes. That is my day right now. Your day may be the day you are reconciled to your son or daughter. It may be the day you overcome an illness. It may be the day you finally graduate and are finished with school. It may be the day your spouse accepts Christ. It may be the day you die and are freed from this world to be with your Father in eternity. It may be any number of other possibilities. What is encouraging is that your day might be tomorrow. You say, That’s just pie in the sky thinking. Well, perhaps it is for any of the normal days mentioned above, but not for the most important day if you are a believer. If you are a believer, there will be a day, the day before the day you die, that you can look forward to being with your heavenly Father for all eternity tomorrow. We’ve already established that that day is guaranteed. None of the other days may come, but then again they may. However, the most important day, God has guaranteed will come. Not only has he guaranteed it, but He has graciously given us certain foreknowledge of its coming. The only future day we know with certainty… Isn’t that odd?
So what, you ask. Well, here is what I am going to try to resolve to do. I know I will fail at this, but nonetheless I’m going to try to wait until tomorrow to grumble or claim that the Lord is not good. If I can go to bed tonight and not grumble, then I’ve won. If I can hold off until tomorrow to take God to court like Job, then I’ve won today. We do not know what tomorrow might bring. With the Lord, what a difference a day can make.