“Today I know that such memories are the key not to the past, but to the future. I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do.”Corrie ten Boom, The Hiding Place
Time flies. Time waits for no man. We’re living on borrowed time.
Time is often on our minds. I’m late; I’m early. The big game starts in 10 minutes. My boss wants that report within the hour.
I remember my mom hurrying me along in the mornings so I wouldn’t be late for school, and in the afternoons telling me to be home in time for dinner. And I remember my sister and I counting down the long days until Christmas. That’s about as much as most kids know about time. As we get older, it sort of takes over life, doesn’t it?
I’m reading Corrie ten Boom’s book The Hiding Place, a narrative of her memories growing up in Haarlem in the Netherlands before and during World War II. Her recollection is excellent and the stories of her little family are told in vivid detail.
My memories are a bit more cloudy and spotty. I remember playing baseball in the backyard with my neighbor, Billy, and racing my bicycle around the neighborhood with my other neighbor, Ricky. I remember snowball battles in the winter, sledding down icy streets, and skating on the local fishing pond. And I remember hard things, like my teacher sobbing on the day President Kennedy was assassinated, as well as the tears my sister and I shed when we were told that our father had died.
Isn’t it strange how memories transport us back in time? Isn’t it remarkable how certain events can start playing like a motion picture, and suddenly we hear once more the voices of people long gone, and feel the emotions of moments that happened long, long ago?
ten Boom says that our past is connected to the present and the future by God. The events in our past, in her words, are the “mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us” in the future.
One big difference between God and us is that he’s eternal, he’s timeless. He created time for us. It has meaning to us because we watch the sun rise and set, we watch the seasons ebb and flow, we see ourselves grow up and grow old. We mark time with birthdays and graduations and anniversaries. We see new babies born and old friends buried.
But from God’s perspective, the past, present, and future are all one continuous story acted out in a moment before his watchful eyes. If we walk with God through life, the lessons we have learned from him yesterday and today will prepare us for whatever is in the future. The things we discover about God’s character and purposes yesterday will continue to be true tomorrow, even if our circumstances have changed drastically.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.Hebrews 13:8 (NLT)
The world changes constantly. All creation is growing old and gray. But the same Christ who was our help and hope yesterday will be there for us tomorrow. The same God who gave us his promise never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) is an eternal God whose promises have no expiration date.
Our past, present, and future are all being written by the one, eternal Author of our salvation.