Time and Timelessness

Time flies when you’re having fun!

Or also when you have shoulder surgery, and your life is less fun.

Still, I can’t believe it’s been 10 weeks since surgery! And that I’ve been back at school for almost five weeks! I thank God that this extremely difficult season–as a whole–is flying by.

Not to say that every day is easy. In fact, no day has been easy in the recovery process, and I don’t expect to have an “easy” day for several months. Each day in itself can be so discouraging. Yet at the end of the day, I’m one step closer to reaching functional level. And for that, I must thank God for His daily dose of new mercies.

Where am I now? Well my victories for this week include driving off campus, attending church without wearing my sling (which was actually a mistake, considering how enthusiastic my church is about supporting international missionaries–that was a little risky on my part), and…wait for it…actually pulling my hair back BY MYSELF! You can tell where my priorities are. But in my defense, my doctor said in my last appointment that the goal for right now is to be able to do my hair on my own. So.

On my own. That’s a phrase I haven’t used in the past 10 weeks, at least regarding my current abilities. I have to say that this recovery process has been the most humbling experience of my life. I can’t really compare my recovery period to the months between the first dislocations and surgery. That timeframe was filled with fear of the unknown that wasn’t settled by any of my own efforts. But I can compare this recovery road to my life before dislocations.

It’s hard to believe what I was doing a year ago. In my first and final semester as a piano major, I spent hours practicing an instrument that I (now) can’t even hold my arm at the appropriate level to play. I rehearsed and performed with the orchestra a 45-minute long, and very difficult, work on the flute, which has been sitting at the bottom of my closet for seven months. I spent my free time, in addition to study time and rehearsal time, in the music building, remaining on the other side of campus from my ice packs that are now a necessity every two to four hours.

Time is funny like that. It just takes a little to turn the direction of your life 180 degrees.

What’s even more fascinating is the artistry God demonstrates in our perception of time.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.”

Ecclesiastes 3:11

I’m currently listening to the song “Brokenness Aside” by All Sons & Daughters. The chorus resounds with the truth that He, as our Savior, takes “brokenness aside and [makes] it beautiful.”

The great thing about God’s artistic ability is that He isn’t restricted to our frame of reference we call time. He doesn’t need my body to be healed before He can work beauty out of the situation.

Also, he has put eternity into our hearts.

Eternity is defined as “the timeless state into which the soul passes at a person’s death.” In her book Whispers of Hope, Beth Moore claims that “eternal ‘life’ doesn’t begin when we die. It began the moment we were reborn.” What a beautiful notion–eternity isn’t restricted to my timeframe. It begins when I surrender control of my life to the only one worthy. This is when true life begins.

Even so, we cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.

C.S. Lewis notes the importance of meditating on the God who exists outside of time: “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next.”

My church just completed a sermon series on “the hereafter,” including most recently a sermon on the New Heaven and New Earth. Beyond the promise of a resurrected body and an end to the cause for tears, the passages we explored in the book of Revelation promise me endless direct access to the God who created time, as both Alpha and Omega. These passages directed my eyes upward. I’m realizing that this is exactly where my gaze needs to be fixed, especially right now.

Christ’s death and resurrection affect my life daily by context for today. Today is not where  I first encountered Christ; I’ve progressed in my faith since then. Today is also not the end. I have a future. I have a hope. And this hope is located beyond today. Beyond the pain I feel today. Beyond the disappointments and isolation and dread of inevitable pain tomorrow. This hope is accompanied by a peace that surpasses understanding, which allows me to get through this today, followed by the next and the next. One day I’ll look back on this season of life and praise God not only for the beauty He’s making of the situation, but also the sustaining hope of spending “timelessness” in His presence.

Hope for the future makes today’s suffering bearable.


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