Time. So many things I could say about time. There’s never enough, though we can take too much. It flies, but it also drags on. We can lose it, but also make up for it. And we’re always trying to control it and bend it to our will.
In a few days we’ll be resetting the clocks in order to gain an extra hour of daylight. Which of course doesn’t really change the actual amount of daylight. It’s just a way to manipulate our concept of time to better suit our needs. And not everyone in the world follows the same practice. In fact, how people regard time—from how it’s measured to our concept of past, present, and future—can vary greatly from culture to culture.
Jim Kaiser, serving as a translation consultant in Ethiopia explains, “In American culture, we picture time as a journey. We travel along, the future unknown because we have not yet reached it. We know the past because we have already been there. The past is behind us, and the future lies ahead.
“The Suri people of southwestern Ethiopia have a different way of viewing time. They picture time in terms of what is seen and known versus what is unseen and unknown. Since they know the past, they think of the past as being in front of them where it can be plainly seen. The future, which is unknown, lies behind them, where it cannot be seen.”
He concludes, “Whether the future lies before me or behind me, I am thankful that our future is securely in the hands of God, who knows the unknown and works all things according to His good purpose.”
We tend to forget that God is in charge and has His own timetable. When the time was right, God sent His Son to live among us. When the time was right, Christ died for our sins. When the time is right, He will come again. It’s the promise fulfilled and the promise of the life to come that sustains us as we face (or look back on) an uncertain future.
When viewed through our limited understanding of time, life here on earth is short. We need to use it wisely. LBT Executive Director Dr. Mike Rodewald has been known to say that while others have come before us and others will follow, this is our time to serve in God’s mission. You can help put God’s Word in the hands of people who do not have it in a language they understand. It only takes a moment to click and give a gift, but it can make a difference for eternity!