"Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God... For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night." (Psalm 90:1-2, 4 ESV)
God is eternal, and we his creatures inhabit time with its many divisions. This is a limitation, but also a gift from God. In my reading of Abraham Kuyper's To Be Near Unto God, I highlighted these excerpts from chapter 60, "His Ways Are Everlasting." He wrote this devotional in the Netherlands at the beginning of the year 1904.
We did not invent time, and its division into years and days; these are ours by God’s appointment.
Our God, moreover, whose are the goings of the age, has not only beautifully divided human life, and thereby mightily enlarged it to our idea, but he also pervades it continually with his faithfulness and Fatherly care. From week to week, and from day to day his mercy and love are over us.
He is the Father of the everlasting ages, who from sheer grace divides, for the sake of enrichment, the life of his child even into smallest parts, and pervades each division and subdivision with his grace to keep us and to protect us.
Time is a form of existence given us by grace.
Whatever the year of life may be, it is never understood from itself. Before God, all of human life, with all its years, forms one plan, one end, one whole.
All of earthly life is nothing but riding down the line to the first station, where the real journey through the tablelands of eternity begins.
He who molds and forms and prepares us for eternity is the Lord. In his works upon the heart, in his forming of the person, as well as in his preparing of the spirit within us for eternity, the goings of the age are also his.
The standard here is not what would give us pleasure and love for a moment; but what governs his appointments of our life is what we are to become in the course of centuries.
Image credit: photo above of tower clock in Paris, France, by Murray Campbell on Unsplash.