I went to see the movie Collateral Beauty starring Will Smith and Helen Mirren … two of my favorite actors. The movie opens with a marketing executive (Will Smith) giving a presentation. He explains that all people are connected by three things … Love, Time and Death. Interesting thought.
The movie continues three years later and this marketing exec is not the same vibrant, alive, excited man that he was. We learn that his young daughter died a couple of years ago and he is lost in deep grief, unable to interact with people, do his job … or really much of anything except setup elaborate structures of dominoes … only to start them crashing into one another… and then, to be rebuilt again and again.
In his grief, Will Smith’s character writes letters – to Love, to Time, and to Death… angry letters telling them off. Soon he is visited by Death (Helen Mirren) … and Love … and Time.
*** Warning *** This movie is a tear jerker. Bring Kleenex.
Having dealt with my own grief after losing my husband, and walking with other friends who have lost husbands … and attending Griefshare meetings, this movie has triggered some “deep thinking” on my part.
I found myself thanking God for time … His gift of time. Time as a gift! I’d never thought of that before. Why is time a gift … and is it a gift?
Too often I’d considered time my enemy. It is running out! I’m getting old(er). There’s not enough time. When will this situation end? And then there is the aspect of waiting. After all, W-A-I-T is a four-letter word!
Time is what we live in here and now. God lives in eternity, and we will too … someday. He invaded time when Jesus came as a little baby … lived and died as one of us … for us. But time as a GIFT ?!? So, here are my thoughts as to why time is a gift.
Eternity lasts a long time. Have you ever thought about that? In the song Amazing Grace it says
“When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Bright shining as the sun
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we first begun.”
I just cannot wrap my brain around that. Ten thousand years is a very long time … and that is just the beginning?
The word Eternity comes from the Latin aeternus, meaning without beginning or end. This differs from Infinity which means without end. Only God is eternal … He had no beginning … no creator. Can’t wrap my mind around that either. I believe it, but I certainly don’t understand it!
In John 17:3 Jesus, praying to His Father, tells us
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”
When I asked Jesus into my heart so many years ago, I learned that I will live with Him forever. That is infinity … but Jesus gives us eternal life. So… my life in Him had no beginning either??? Another way to think about that is that His Life … eternal life … is outside of time.
Infinity is forever … time FUTURE. What about time PAST?
We can understand that better. We were there … we remember. Some of it was great … some of it was definitely NOT great. We were hurt! We despaired. We were rejected. We failed… sometimes miserably… and people failed us.
We have been told that Time heals all wounds, but we know that isn’t true. We may bury the hurts and failures in the basement, but they are still there … rotting and stinking … weighing us down and holding us back.
So what do we do with all that “stuff?”
We take the bad stuff to Jesus. He is outside of time … He can handle it. For the hurts, forgive … let go of them … and let His Word … His Truth … heal the wounds. For the failures, Jesus paid the price for those … with His Precious Blood… and we are forgiven. Paul said in Philippians 3:13,
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,”
So, “forget” the hurts and failures and move toward “what is ahead.” Lamentations 3:21-23 (NLT) says
“Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.”
And the “good stuff?” Remember these things. Hold tightly to them. Romans 8:28 (NLT) tells us
“…that God causes everything (even the junk) to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
That doesn’t mean He caused or even wanted the “junk”… but He can bring good … for us … out of anything. We just have to give it to Him. It is our choice. Remember His Faithfulness … His promises … how He rescued you … how He answered your prayers … how He was with you through everything. Like Mary, “treasure” these things in your heart.
So, back to time is a gift. Because of time, we can let go of what is behind us … we don’t have to carry it with us forever … we can leave it in the past … we can deal with today. And we don’t have to handle everything that is still to come in the future. We can deal with today. That is all we can handle at one time anyways. Today!
Today we can Love.
Today we can worship.
Today we can be grateful.
And someday, Death will open the door to eternity…
and unimaginable, immeasurable, unending love
… with God … forever …
if we have chosen Him today.
Today is a gift … that must not be wasted. But what to do with it? Sometimes I am tempted to sleep through the day … pull the covers over my head and let the world go by. Usually this is only when I’m really tired (like the day after Christmas), but sometimes I just don’t want to decide about anything! Too much going on! Am I depressed … stressed … overwhelmed … fearful …? That is when I need the Light of Christ to show me what is going on … what to do … and NOT do … and the way out of my funk. I don’t have to stay there. Thank You, Lord!
But when anything is exposed by the light, it becomes visible, for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,
“Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit..
Ephesians 5: 13-18
Thank You for time.
Thank You that I don’t have to deal with
The past and the future all at once …
Teach me to use your gift wisely…
To make the best use of the time
You’ve given me.
Surround me with Your Light …
Show me Your will…
And Fill me with Your Spirit.