Time is sort of a river of passing events, and strong is its current; no sooner is a thing brought to sight than it is swept by and another takes its place, and this too will be swept away.” ― Marcus Aurelius
Albert Einstein believed that existence is singular. For him it was always “now” with no real separation between the past and the future. He once wrote. “Time has no independent existence apart from the order of events by which we measure it.” In the mind of Einstein, the past, present, and future all exist in parallel and any separation between them was nothing more than a convincing illusion.
Diverse thinkers throughout human history have also called “time” an illusion. They say that time isn’t really “real” at all, just a social construct which allows us a degree of comprehension into what might otherwise be unfathomable.
Is time just an intricate illusion? Perhaps, but we’ll leave the endless debates on that subject for the philosophers, scientists and physicists. This much I do know for sure: none of them has been able to fully answer the question, “What is time?”
Meanwhile, the perceived clock keeps right on ticking and we can neither slow down nor reverse its relentless march forward. So, I ask myself, “Why are so many people trying (albeit in vain) to redo yesterday?” How about you? Stuck in the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” matrix?
When I was a child, there was a nursery rhyme, a single quatrain, which went something like this:
“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
couldn’t put Humpty back together again.”
In other words, good or bad, right or wrong, what is done is done. In life, there are no “do-overs”. We do not have the luxury of saying, “Gee, my life really stinks, I think I‘ll just hit the reset button, reload the software and start over from birth.”
Granted, you can change direction, take a new path, even “reinvent yourself” a time or two during your journey on spaceship earth; but once a lifetime is over, well, you are out of second (third, fourth and fifth) chances, my friend.
The average life expectancy of a newborn in North America (2018) is about 78 years. Depending upon when you were born (and how you live), your average life expectancy may be considerably lower. But even if you were to live to be 100 years old, this question still remains: Are you taking full advantage of the finite number of years that you have?
Instead of waking up every day lamenting what you woulda, coulda, or shoulda done, why not listen to a bit of advice from this very wise biblical writer named Paul. He said,
13 “…I am still not all I should be, but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I strain to reach the end of the race of life and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to the heaven because of what Jesus the Christ did for us.” (Philippians 3:13-14)
So let me ask you again, “What are you doing with your life?” Better yet, “what are you doing today?” You see, moment by moment, only you can live your life. Before you know it, time will expire (real or not). Perhaps you had better make every second count while you still can.
Many times, the decisions you make affect and hurt your closest friends and family the most. I have a lot of regrets in that regard. But God has forgiven me, which I am very thankful for. It has enabled me to forgive myself and move forward one day at a time.” ― Lex Luger
My personal reference for a solid and reliable world view is rooted in the Judeo-Christian ethic as revealed in the pages of ancient Scripture. The wisdom contained within its numerous stories and illustrations helps me to see the world for what it really is. Passages like this:
15-17”Never give your hearts to this world or to any of the things in it. A man cannot love the Father and love the world at the same time. For the whole world-system, based as it is on men’s primitive desires, their greedy ambitions and the glamor of all that they think splendid, is not derived from the Father at all, but from the world itself. The world and all its passionate desires will one day disappear. But the man who is following God’s will is part of the permanent and cannot die.” John 1:9-13 (Phillips)
Did he say, “Never give your heart over to the things of this world?” I know, I know, that’s a pretty tall order. It requires us to guard our human spirit with all diligence (Proverbs 4:23). It takes discipline to keep our mind, will and emotions (the human soul) from being enamored by the ways of this world. It means we have to place our affections on things beyond this brief space-time journey.
All earthly societies have values, principles and philosophies which form their basic organizational foundations, and we all live in these secular social systems. But what happens when the flow of earthly cultures run ever more contrary to the course of a Divine order? How do we respond? Good question. The answer is: we defy the flow of those social structures. No, we do not become anarchists, we simply continue to live by and follow the Divine order, even if that means swimming against the cultural tide.
If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” ― C.S. Lewis
All over the world people are celebrating the passage of time. It’s the season to ring in a new year. In the words of the great Victorian Poet, Alfred Lord Tennyson,
“Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky, The flying cloud, the frosty light: The old year is dying in the night; Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.”
What will you do with this new year? Personally, I have given up on the practice of making New Year’s resolutions. I only end up despondent and depressed a few weeks later when I fail to live up to them. The nature of most New Year’s resolutions is inherently short-term. I prefer to set priorities for my life and then measure my progress throughout the year. How about you? Have you set any goals for the new year? Now is a great time to do so!
With that in mind, let me suggest one or two priorities that you might take under consideration. First, get to know the Divine plan for your life a little better in the coming year. Our Creator has something unique for every one of us. Find ways to be of service to others by exercising your talents and gifts with joy and faithfulness. “Much is expected from the one who has been given much, and the more a man is trusted with, the more people will expect of him.” (Luke 12:48)
Second, remember with whom we are at war. Here on Spaceship Earth, our battles are most often against spiritual enemies (not our fellow passengers). Forget about society’s methods of confronting evil. God is a spirit entity with boundless resources from whom we draw our strength and wisdom. The good fight of faith requires that we know our foes and respond appropriately. Listen to this from the Biblical writer Paul,
“For our fight is not against any physical enemy: it is against organizations and powers that are spiritual. We are up against the unseen power that controls this dark world, and spiritual agents from the very headquarters of evil.” (Ephesians 6:12)
Yea, I know, that seems pretty radical. But, the rebel Jesus was considered radical too. So were all of his early disciples. If you truly want to follow the message and the mission of Jesus, you’ll be joining a spiritually radical bunch. We’re not just playing church, we’re out to change the fundamental nature of mankind by the power that works within us.
Well, good or bad, right or wrong, real or not – time’s up. Another year has come and gone. The Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran once said, “Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream.” You know what I say? NOW is your time. What are you going to do with it? Hmm?
Me, I’m weighing anchor mates. It’s time to set sail for another crazy trip around the sun!
Happy New Year!
Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is a noted author, broadcaster, a popular Bible teacher and a rabid Coastal Junkie®
For additional information write to: Coastal Life Ministries, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, Florida 34656.