rage against the (time) machine

Time.

It is the ever-present fundamental of our linear reality, and causes everything from spectacular happiness to maddening tension. The tip-off for the championship game…the approaching deadline for a huge paper…the signaling of the pipe organ as the blushing bride is escorted down the aisle by her father…the herculean 1.4 seconds that stood between the competitor and a new world record.

Our mortal existence automatically triggers a biological allegiance to the passing of the clock, an allegiance which can never be rescinded as long as we draw breath. The massive efforts of technological innovation, the creative worlds in our imagination, and the utmost resolve of the human will are all brushed aside by the power of the mighty second hand.

With the exception of science fiction, I would argue that many people go about their day without stopping to think about this fact. However, on the rare occasion that we do stop and think about it (in depth), it probably invokes a reaction of frustration. Perhaps there are other exceptions, but I am willing to bet some sort of frustration has to arise from this line of thinking. If not, I guess I am strangely alone…because I am frustrated.

The culmination of education, experience, tangible support, and everything else present in my life does nothing to relieve me from the daunting task of daily obedience. My commitment to follow Jesus has steadily produced a series of hard questions and realities in my life, and they are not getting easier. Choices about where my vocation will take me next, how my new and current relationships change and grow, the clash between my knowledge and my desires…they all seem to intensify day by day.

Should I stay when it would be easier/more appealing to go? Should I leave when everyone tells me to stay? Should I exercise vulnerability, and risk pain? Can I determine the right course of action?

In the time it took you to read the beginning of this blog to the end of this sentence, two victims in the human trafficking trade were smuggled across international borders. Should my primary concern be for those people, or for helping the family who lost both sons in the deadly tornado this week?

Choices. We navigate through time by making choices, both selfish and selfless ones. Choices are the most powerful tool we have against the face of time; choices allow us to maximize the passing of time by seizing opportunities for change and advancement. You may have heard the phrase that life is a series of choices. While the face value of this statement may appear cold and heartless, it is essentially correct.

What will you do with your choices?

Unfortunately, I choose the path of patience. Yes, you read that correctly…I started with the word unfortunately. Just in case you have not tried being patient before, I need to warn you that it is a wretched process. The level of wretchedness varies, but here is how I define patience. Patience means not getting what you want, when you want it. Yes, yes, I know waiting and being hopeful can be included in that definition…but think about it.

How many times have you joyfully thought about the next chance to show patience?

I am not asking how many of you were glad that you previously showed patience, because that would be a silly question. Of course you are glad about that, you are observing the situation in hindsight. Take yourself back to the beginning of that scenario, and try instilling the happiness you have now in the “you” of that point in time. You know, when you first realized that you had to exhibit patience. Not an easy task, huh?

My choice to pursue patience has nothing to do with attained wisdom or the desire to gain sympathy. It has everything to do with the realization that I am helpless without guidance from the Creator who put the second hand in my face from day one. Having faith in the firestorm of blunt opinions, selfish inclinations, and tempting opportunities is the farthest thing from “fun” that you can imagine.

I recognize that choosing Christ all those years ago cannot be a one-time act. If I do not choose Him daily, I will lose the one thing that no one can lose: hope. If you only make one fully-fledged choice in your life, choose hope. Without hope, we have nothing.

Let me slightly rephrase that. Without Hope, we eventually lose the battle of time.

Choose Hope, He already chose to die for you.

How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob; whose help is in the LORD his God; Who made heaven and earth; the sea and all that is in them; Who keeps faith forever.

Psalm 146:5-6

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