Sunday, March 9, 2014

Time: A perspective

When we read through the Bible, years and months feel like seconds, don't they?

Take today's Gospel, for example.  

Matthew tells us that Jesus spent 40 days in the desert.   Forty days!!  We skim past that as we read about the various temptations Jesus faced.  But do we really appreciate how long that is?  If you are reading this on March 9, 40 days ago was January 28th.  Imagine being in the desert since then, facing the blistering sun during the day, and cold at night. All while fasting.  I don't know about you, but a day of fasting feels like a week to me - and that is while I sit in my comfortable, climate controlled environment.  

This got me thinking of other time spans that I gloss over in the Bible.

For example, Jesus is crucified, and dies in a few short paragraphs.  But I constantly forget he spent six long, grueling hours on the cross.  When I get a splinter in my finger, I rush to get it out as quickly as possible so the pain will stop.  Jesus had nails driven through his hands and feet ... and they stayed there right along his bruises for 360 long minutes.

I never realized, until this year, how long John the Baptist spent in prison.  Never even thought about it since we go from him being arrested to beheaded in a few words.  But scholars think he spend almost two years in prison.  And I'm pretty sure it wasn't the kind Martha Stewart served in.

Mary and Joseph depart Nazareth and arrive in Bethlehem in a few sentences.  But that journey probably took five to seven days.  Walking all day.  And Mary was pregnant! 

The Israelites spent a few pages suffering in Egypt.  But in reality, it was almost 400 years.  To put that in perspective, if you started counting today, your great-great-great grandchildren would still be in Egypt. 

There are many, many more.  But hopefully you get the point of this post.  The ironic thing is that we have no idea what time feels like for God.  Does a second feel like a year?  Or a year like a second?  

God Bless. 



Mary N. said...

Oh, now I feel really embarrassed that I hate Daylight Savings Time ;)

This is an excellent post, Michael. It has a way of putting things in their proper perspective.

Days DO feel really long when we are fasting. I don't know how Jesus did it for forty days.

God bless!

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Great post once again putting into perspective what we often by-pass and ignore. Thanx Michael for your insight.

God bless you always.

Shirley said...

Time passes so quickly and this life is only a grain of sand in the hourglass of time.

Michael said...

Mary - I love daylight savings time, although it does tend to make fasting days feel even longer!

Victor - Thanks Victor - I am always fascinated by what I have missed reading the same passage hundreds of times.

Shirley - You are so right. And as quick as it is for us, it must be a blink for God.

Thank you all for your thoughts and comments. God Bless you.