Daylight Salvation Time
A number of countries follow the practice of “daylight savings time.” They’ll be setting their clocks back by one hour in about 24 hours from the time of this writing. A lot of us think it’s pointless in the modern era, but once upon a time . . .
. . . once upon a time.
Question: What if we could actually reverse time? Think of what could be accomplished! As veteran soldier Emil Blonsky said in The Incredible Hulk, “I'm a fighter. I'll be one for as long as I can. You know, if I could take what I know now, put it in the body I had ten years ago—that would be someone I wouldn't want to fight.”
If you’re middle-aged or older, imagine taking your current knowledge and wisdom borne of experience, and transmitting that back into your teenaged or twenty-something self! I would love to be able to do that.
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld doesn’t seem too big on the idea though. At least that’s what he told his friend Superman: “I don’t like that whole going-back-in-time thing. . . . What’s the point of anything if you can just go back in time and fix any problem?”
Jerry’s right: if we could repeatedly change the past—much like hitting restart on a video game—then any given event in our lives would be meaningless. Indeed, life itself would be meaningless.
And yet . . . most of us (the rest are lying) would love to be able to travel backward in time to change bad decisions we now regret, or prevent (if possible) bad things that have happened to us. And though we can't do this in literal terms, we sure do “time-travel” mentally.
This is frequently a negative, sorrowful, even damaging venture. We can become trapped by positive or negative memories. If positive: we may “long for ‘the good old days’ ” because we romanticize the past and want to escape the life we’re living now. If negative: we find we can’t escape the sorrow of regret or a past tragedy.
Ironically, though, it turns out that mental time-travel—meditating on both the past and the future—is the spiritual device we need to find ultimate blessing. And it’s God, not a real-life H. G. Wells, who has provided us with this “time machine.”
If I am confronted by the ghosts of regret, although I’m just one person I am also a reflection of humanity, which fell into sin in the distant past. My falls and foibles mirror the Fall. Therefore I must regularly meditate on God’s counter-move, also in the past: the cross on which Jesus Christ, God-incarnate, died for our sins. God has made that historical event part of my past as well, for “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
And this links me to all of humanity:
The love of Christ controls us, because we know that One died for all, so all have died. Christ died for all so that those who live would not continue to live for themselves. He died for them and was raised from the dead so that they would live for him. [2 Corinthians 5:14-15]
I can travel forward in time in relationship with Jesus because God has caused me to “travel back in time” to the Cross.
And if we carry the weight of past hurts or losses, no matter how heavy they are God invites us to “travel into the future” by meditating on what’s to come:
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” [1 Corinthians 2:9 (one of my favorite verses)]
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! [2 Corinthians 4:17]
But we are looking forward to the new heavens and new earth he has promised, a world filled with God’s righteousness. [2 Peter 3:13]
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” [Revelation 21:4]
To my fellow Christians, I must issue a caution against a different kind of mental time-travel: fickle faith. The Lord has warned us: “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62) “Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.” (James 1:7-8)
This isn’t about having doubts or questions cross your mind. It’s about where you take those doubts and questions: do you take them in your mental time machine to the past—wishing you hadn’t devoted yourself to Christ—or do you take them to Him, so that He can empower you to wrestle with them in a constructive way?
If you’ve never placed your trust in the Lord Jesus, or if you did at one time but are currently distanced from Him—now, not later, is the appropriate moment to reset your clock to Daylight Salvation Time. I urge you to adopt the past-and-future outlook of the Apostle Paul:
I once thought these things [in my past] were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. . . .
No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting [my] past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. [Philippians 3:7-9, 13-14]