Monday, February 11, 2013

When Would You Go?

A Devotional by Margot Ciocco 

Photo I took at a local historic home
1 Corinthians 13:4-5
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 
5 It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Well I have indulged in a bit of binge reading for the past few days. It was your basic historical fiction with a time travel twist. Time travel is such a wonderful literary device and I enjoy the interesting directions the plot will take as a person from one time period is suddenly thrust into another time period much different from their own. It leaves me wondering how might any of us fare if we found ourselves suddenly alone and in another time. Would you spend your time like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz looking for a way back or would you decide to make the best of your situation and find a way to fit in to your strange new surroundings. Maybe we all face this choice to some extent. Is there some point in you life where things spun of in a direction that was beyond your ability to change or control. Have to tried with all your might to some how get back to plan "A" feeling your life is somehow off course. Or have you accepted the sovereignty of God to move you or others into different arenas of his choosing. I know I have for years fought the feeling that my life was off course and did my best to accept that I could not go back and fix it but had to look for my story to take a different direction than the one I had once dreamed of. There are times when that alternate reality still haunts me and it is easy to spend too much times on the what if's of life. Maybe in a sense it is why I love to read historical fiction time travel books because I can identify with the person who's story has spun wildly out of control. I think there is a point in all of our stories that we are just doing our best to survive the changes thrust upon us. We can't see very far ahead and it takes everything we are made of just to figure out how to get though one day at a time.

One does not need to be a time traveler to find themselves in the middle of circumstances and situations that have not played out like we hoped or anticipated. Maybe we completely thrown a unexpected curve and are struggling to find new normal because there is no way to get back to the old normal and its familiar comforts.

Time is an interesting subject and God is not held to linear time like we are. My friend Ryan Mahoney wrote an interesting blog and mentioned in it two types of time. "Every bit of life is divided into sequences of time: chronos. It’s seconds, minutes, hours, days…millennia etc. Chronos may be intangible, but we can feel it. The pressure of a deadline, or when someone you love only has a few moments left. So much stress and anxiety is directly the result of the intangible yet ever present chronos. And yet, this measure of time is inadequate.

There is another greek term for time: kairos. Kairos is not about quantity, it is about a quality of time. Kairos happens when you lose track of time. It happens when you get lost in a conversation with a dear friend, or with someone you love, kairos sneaks up on you when you get lost in nature, or in your passion for life or art, or family.

Kairos is God’s time."

Is is it possible to walk in and out of time. Certainly the Lord and His angels are sent from the realm of God time into our times. Enoch is said to have not died but to have just walked out of this world with the Lord. Genesis 5:24 "Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him away."
2 Kings 2 11As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them apart.
And what about Philip who seems to be a time jumper of sorts. He no sooner finishes talking to the Eunuch in Acts 8 than he is caught to another town many miles away. It seems to me that something supernatural happened. We don't really get much explanation. I know I have been on some long drives that I wished that God would just suspend time and bring me to the new place like he did Philip.

It is certainly possible for Jesus and his angels to step in and out of time.

Ps 18:9-11
9 He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet.
10 He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.`
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him-- the dark rain clouds of the sky. (NIV)

Psalm 31:15 My times are in your hands...

There is a lot of stuff in the bible that I don't totally understand. Things like how it was possible for Philip to jump from one place to another by the power of the Spirit. Or how did that whole deal work with Enoch. Hebrews 11:5 says "by faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death; he could not be found, because God had taken him away. For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God." Where did he and Elijah go when God carried them away?

These examples are maybe not exactly like those found in science fiction or time travel novels. I suppose I leave room for the wonder of God. I expect there is some stuff that I simply don't understand. Maybe the Lord will help me understand some of these wondrous kinds of things. There are things that are pretty clear like our verse today, 1 Corinthians 13:4-5." So while it is fun to binge on a time travel novels once in a while, and fun to speculate how it might work and if God has left us some clues to its occurrence. I realize that my real focus needs to be on learning to love like Jesus loves. His love is patent and kind, with out envy or need for prideful boasting. It is not self seeking or easily angered and it keeps no record of wrongs. I suppose that leaves me plenty to concern myself with for today. 

I am thankful for the amazing creativity he has put into us to be able to create music, art and wonderful stories. He has given us the ability to imagine and invent. I marvel at the many scientific discoveries and how they have changed our lives. We live in a time in which technology changes at such a rapid pace that it leaves ones head spinning. As I read portions of the bible like Ezekiel or parts of Daniel or Revelation I can't help but wonder what they saw. Did God pull back the curtains of time and allow them to see into our time or beyond. Were the things they saw so marvelous from their position in time that they really had no words to explain what they saw. Rather than reading these things and feeling frustrated by all the questions I am instead filled with a sense of awe and wonder. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the Jesus is my buddy mentality and forget that our God is far beyond our limited understanding he is awesome and powerful.  I am reminded of the bit of the Narnia stories by CS Lewis stories where Mr. Bever describes Aslan. " Aslan "isn't safe. But he's good" 
I think we forget that we are like the little critters in a petri dish and God himself has stepped down into our world to save us from some poison that will kill us if he does not step out of his glory into our world. 

Where would you go and what would you take in your travel bag?
Where might you go if you could visit some other time? 
But perhaps it is more of a Carpe diem sort of thing in which we need to stop dreaming and simply  sieze the day and make a difference in our own sphere of influence and in our own time.  

What ever the case I hope you will live your life fully and not miss out on today because your head is stuck in the past or the future. 

Prayer: Help us Lord to number our days in a right way and to make the most of the time you have given us. Help us to have courage to take the step of faith before each of us so that we might be filled with wonder at your provision and presence. Thank you for the wonderful imaginations you have given us and help us to use them for your glory. 


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