My dad and his dad at the Mule Barn (Wilkes Barre, PA) 1920’s
Bob Dylan sang these words about time, passing slowly, but for as insightful as he can be (and next to Shakespeare perhaps the best writer) I don’t think he got it right this time.
Time seems to pass quickly from my side of the dim glass. Wasn’t it just last week I was a boy catching frogs and snakes? Playing with army men and riding ponies? My bike my constant companion?
My brother Fred and I in Detroit (I’m the rootin’ tootin cowpoke) 1960’s
It would seem things are speeding up when I look back at my life. Deaths and weddings are a flurry of benchmarks to measure the march of time. We all seem to be racing into eternity with hair ablaze.
Our son’s wedding in 2016
Where does time go when it’s gone? Does the bottom of the hourglass empty into itself? Or it sifts back into Eternity somehow? Time seems to be at a constant speed that we are unaware of until it actually stops for us…in death.
And then what? Eternity itself, at the bottom of the hourglass where millions of people have already gone, waiting for us to get there too? Maybe that’s why death is so significant.
King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes that “It is better to go to funerals than parties because death is the end of every man and the living take it to heart.”
Our wedding in the 1980’s (time’s influence obvious from the other wedding pic)
What did Solomon mean, take it to heart? The same deliberation is echoed in Psalm 39,
Lord, let me know my end,
and what is the measure of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is!
I think it’s to be sure we understand our destination, like with any trip to know that we have reservations when we arrive, and that life is just a wisp of a breath on a cold day.
The Bible is very clear that Jesus is our “hotel” because we all are moving down the same road. Ironic that we hope we have a room when we get there, when the Bible says we can know for sure (1 John 5:11-13). It is not a mystery to a genuine believer in Christ.
The Godfather of Time, Einstein said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality.”
It’s interesting to note that on April 18, 1955 even the great Einstein slipped through the narrow part of the hourglass too. Did he find the answer to his curiosity and have a reservation for eternity?
Einstein’s desk on the day he died.
Einstein’s last car ride.
Augustine said, “What, then, is time? I know well enough what it is, provided that nobody asks me, but if I am asked what it is and try to explain, I am baffled.”
Back to Bob. Dylan also wrote, “Forever Young” which, seems to me, is tied to eternity and God. This is where the dream we are “caught” in becomes a wonderful dawn with Jesus Christ nudging us awake.
May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.
If this is all too jumbled up to grasp, just understand that time will stop for you. Eternity is the wake up call, and you are not guaranteed a reservation apart from Jesus Christ literally residing inside of your body. It’s not an intellectual ascent. It’s a divine possession (Colossians 1:27). And it certainly has nothing to do with religion.
The hope of waking up forever young is explained by the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18,
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
To add one line to Zimmy’s “Forever Young,”
May those who gaze upon you,
in your coffin still and cold.
See not only just your death,
but a smile set on hold.