If there’s one thing that we can’t fully comprehend, it’d be the idea of time as we know it as it compares to how God knows it. We’re told that one day to us is like a thousand years to Him (2 Peter 3:8; Psalm 90:4); we’re told that He knows every word we will speak before we even utter one (Psalm 139:4); we’re told that He has ordained all of our days before each one came to be (Psalm 139:16); we’re told that He knew Jeremiah (and so, us too) before He formed him in the womb (Jeremiah 1:5). The list of further verses laying claim to God’s sovereign omniscience is long, clearly communicated through the Bible. It is a passage in Hebrews that has drawn me in to contemplate the idea of God’s timing and the totality of it. Chiefly, the last words in Hebrews 4:3 and into verse 4 where it says, “And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: ‘And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.'” As the last sentence was footnoted with the verse in Genesis 2:2, I began to wonder whether this passage on Sabbath rest in Hebrews may also be communicating a line of reasoning when it comes to, not just the ordinance for Christians to practice rest on the seventh day, but if God really had finished all that has been, is, and will be on that precious day that He blessed as holy when His work had been finished (Genesis 2:3).
Generally, when reading the creation account, we can simply take from it the process and providence of our Creator as He chose to reveal it. Perhaps though, in addition to this, we could use Scripture to interpret Scripture and see the overarching revelation of the sovereignty of His work. If His work was finished, as the Hebrews and Genesis verses say, can’t we also assume that not only the Calvinist view of election was accomplished, but that each and every moment in time that falls between our creation and completion has already been finished as well? Not that we are meant to grasp the intricacies of infinity or eternity, but to even touch on them, in light of Scriptural revelation, would be the most wondrous way to live out our time as we understand it. Just maybe, all the work He completed in the creation account included all the work He decreed to do for all time and that is why the Hebrews passage on Sabbath rest repeatedly reads of Today (Hebrews 3:7,13,15; 4:7). For two chapters, Hebrews 3 and 4, the writer continues to focus on a passage in Psalm 95:7-11 where God says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts.” Today implies time, but which time should we be counting? Should we count from Calvary until today? Should we count from creation until today? Should we even be counting time? We will never understand the totality of time as God does, but we can understand the finite time He has given us, the Today. Instead, we could count on Him and that His finished work is devoid of time as we know it, but that He gave us the concept of time to learn to live in the present with the firm faith that He has eternity under control.
The Today that ticks by, when we see life passing by, and we feel totally out of control. I’ve never known anyone (yours truly included) who doesn’t long to have some semblance of control in their life. We can exhibit different levels of this need, sometimes resulting in severe anxiety. At the deepest core of desiring to have control is, I believe, the lack of faith in the God we worship whose will is one that holds all of time in consideration of it. We can try to control how long we live by engaging in hyper healthy lifestyles, or try to control what our family will look like by reverting to medical means to conceive and bear children, or try to control the behavior of others by manipulating circumstances in which we’re involved with them, and most regularly, we try to control the will of God, which has already been ordained, doing so with the details in life that we deem as disastrous, but He deems as necessary for whatever reasons He determines. Did He know your child was going to suffer from disease or an early death? Did He know that your body would attack itself and end up fighting a cancer or an autoimmune disease? Did He know that: whatever that may be? He not only does, but always did. Just as He knew all the words He’d have recorded for us to read in Scripture today, and just as He knew that His Son would die as shown through the many prophecies in the Bible proclaim. All these things, He knew and finished on that seventh day He rested on.
This train of thought ends with a refreshing view of God and His sovereign will. Time is filled with the minutiae of Today. If we allow our minds to be consumed with the falsity that we actually have even an iota of control over any occurrence, we aren’t submitting to the sovereignty of our God as fully as we could be. Even if we live each day, eating healthily and exercising regularly, it is still God who has planned out the length of life for us. Even if we attempt to manipulate circumstances to fit the desires we have for what our lives should look like, it is still God who planned each of them for us. Please note that I use the past tense form for plan, planned, because that is where we can find the permanence of that Sabbath rest that God foreordained for His people. This isn’t to say that we are robots, or that we are excused from making choices, or that our prayers aren’t heard as they’re spoken, but it is to say that no matter what it is that we’re trying to control may be an absolute waste of our resources if we don’t understand that the outcomes of each day were already decided beforehand and that God’s will is already and always will be done, regardless of our comprehension of how He accomplished it. The resources that God provided us with are encompassed in His Word; it is in those words that we can try to make our desires fall in line with Him as we make each step forward until He calls us home.
Am I caught counting the days until I go home? Or the days that my loved ones will go home? Or the days until healing is given for those that need it, whether it be physical or spiritual healing? Or the days until I accomplish whatever I’ve tried to manipulate to get my way? Guilty as charged. However, if we can remain cognizant of the Scriptural truths that reveal how God has finished His work, especially when we begin to fixate on an instance that isn’t happening as we had hoped it would, that is where our growing dependence on our faith and trust in God’s work can find the Sabbath rest He willed for us all the way back on that seventh day of creation. Every moment, every person, every thing, was already known and planned before we ever knew the concept of time in life. That alone can offer an unexplainable peace as we approach each day and whatever it brings our way. The One who created time, Today, and forever is our Controller; we are not, never have been, and never will be. We can certainly strive to serve Him unabashedly, as well we should, but never will our striving surpass the finished work that He’s willed and we’re left with the uncompromising knowledge that He knows better than we do. For that, we can calmly enter the Sabbath rest not only on the Lord’s day, but every day with the assurance that what He has planned is for reasons that we cannot fathom, and that we don’t need to because our trust in Him is unwavering. God is not trapped within the constraint of time as we are, so this faith isn’t blind when it rests in Him who sees the totality of time.