I see time like Tetris (play HERE) where if arranged just right I can fill every slot of the hour and day. I find it thrilling. This mini-bit of personal information tells you a lot about me: I'm primarily task oriented; I'm impatient; I move fast; and I tend to get a lot done. And while my hard-wiring has a few benefits and many annoying side effects it ultimately fails because I spend life "doing" rather than "being." While in "doing" mode I often miss key relational opportunities, fail at the discipline of stillness, and overvalue productivity.
But ever since my personal resurrection, I have developed a glitch in my hard-wiring. I have moments when time crashes. Time crashed last night. As I drove home from work I passed a church marquee sign. I hate church marquee signs. Too often their messages lend credence to the argument that Christianity is irrelevant. I saw one recently, "God, make me the person my dog thinks I am." But, the sign I passed last night was different. It simply read, "Thanks be to God!"
Crash! Tetris froze. All the cars continued to move at their regular 4 mile over-the-speed-limit pace, but I moved at the speed of slow motion.
"Thanks be to God" took me to Romans 7: "What a wretched man I am. Who will deliver me from this body of death. Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord." I cried. I typically cry when time crashes because it brings me back to reality, to what matters. Don't get me wrong, the stark reality is a beautiful reality: I am a wretched man but God delivers me (yes ongoing) through Jesus Christ. And in that moment I get it...the big IT. I recognize again all the life many of my choices have killed while simultaneously praising God for his deliverance and heavy grace.
As a result, my relational sensors go into overdrive. I feel others. It is as if can empathize with the struggling single mother, understand the shame of an addict, hurt with the lonely, mourn with the one who just lost a loved one, scream the pain of someone experiencing a divorce, cry with the parent losing their child to poor choices...Although in reality I have no idea how they feel, in my "time still moments" I'm bonded to them because I'm centered on what is common to every human heart.
Every rational human being understands the statement, "What a wretched man I am!" We know pain, our pain, results from a combination of being a wretched person and from the wretched people around us. Despite all our efforts to appear otherwise we know, "I'm not okay," and I'm convinced every human being wants to be loved in spite of being "not okay!" We all want to declare to the world, "I'm not okay," and for the world to respond, "We love you!"
Unfortunately, experience tells us the world often does not respond to our vulnerable transparency with love and so we spend our lives trying to prove to the world, "I am okay!" But...you are not okay. I'm not okay either, and therein lies the power of the good news of Jesus. Jesus knows you are not okay. Jesus knows you are not okay better than anyone, and knowing you are not okay he always responds , "I love you!" Freedom!
When time crashes those two truths take over. One: I'm not okay. Two: Jesus loves me. When time crashes I feel bonded to you (yes any of you) because I know the same is true about you. One: you are not okay. Two: Jesus loves you. And finally, when time crashes I know I love you!