He is the Lord of time. He not only created it, he controls and directs its course and content. We, by contrast, are creatures of time. We have no control over it. We cannot pause it when our lives and circumstances are careering out of control.
Constancy is something every human being craves. Knowing that, in the midst of all the upheaval and change that marks the course of life, there are anchor-points that provide stability along the way. But where can we find such certainty?
It is an issue we become more acutely aware of as one year draws to its close and a new one begins – one that we are all aware of in different ways in the different seasons of life. But it came home to me in our church prayer meeting recently when one of the ladies in the congregation prayed, ‘Lord, thank you for being the great Constant!’ In the midst of the rolling years on earth, there is One in heaven who never has changed and never will throughout eternity.
In a strange, but understandable way, these thoughts tend to multiply at the turning of the year. As the clocks count down to midnight on New Year’s Eve, thoughts go back to the year that is about to be consigned to history. And as the cheers and fireworks mark the start of the incoming year, we can’t help but wonder what it may bring with it, for good or ill, as it unfolds.
For those many people throughout the world who have no meaningful awareness of God (let alone a living relationship with him) they find themselves facing the future with nothing to cling to. They feel themselves to be at the mercy of fate and fortune. For them there is no Constant. Even in the midst of the joys and pleasures that come their way in life, they feel themselves subjected to the ravages of time. Not so for the children of the Living God!
Timothy Dudley Smith, the Anglican Vicar who wrote the two-volume biography of John Stott, but who is perhaps more widely known as the composer who was very much in the vanguard of some of the best of the newer hymns that began to be written in our generation, captures this well in one of his hymns. One that was written with the passage of time and the beginning of a new year in mind.