I'm spending some time in time-travel land this week, trying to get through another tome by Stephen King before it becomes overdue at midnight tonight.
This book deals with a rabbit hole that allows someone from today to walk into the world sometime in the late 1950s. On this side of the rabbit hole, only moments elapse. Time takes its usual 24-hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days per year in the past. Therefore, while you are in the past, you are aging at the same rate as the people around you. If you return to your own time, the years you lived in the past accompany you to the future. No thanks, I'm getting old fast enough as it is.
Also important to note is that if you go into the past and change an injustice, which of course King's protagonist does, return to your own time and later find it necessary to re-visit the past, everything is reset, including the injustice you sought to rectify in the first place. Unique in this story is the fact that you always go back to the same moment in time and encounter the same people. Subject to change, however, is how you interact with these long-ago characters.
Time-travel is a no-brainer. It can't be done. That's what makes King the writer he is. He can woo the reader into a state of "suspended disbelief" even when they know the premise he is building his entire story on is false.
The Terminator, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, is another example. Released in 1984, it was a wonder of special effects, especially at the end when the cyborg is stripped of his human veneer and continues to pursue his prey, his metal framework and red-eyes glittering in the night. I deduced that if the Terminator had successfully found the right Sarah Connor, as soon as she died, he would disappear. Remember in the first movie, the Terminator was created with one purpose and one purpose alone: Kill Sarah Connor so that she could never give birth to John Connor, who led the rebellion against the machines in the future world that birthed the Terminator. If Sarah Connor is dead, then there is no need for a Terminator. End of story. Suspended disbelief on the silver screen.
In Genesis we learn that God, who is eternal and not bound by time, created time when he spoke light into being. Genesis 1:3-5 reads, "And God said, 'Let there be light,' and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light 'day,' and the darkness he called 'night.' And there was evening, and there was morning -- the first day."
We have always walked in a creation that measures time and we have always moved forward with time. There is one exception recorded in the 38th chapter of Isaiah, when the shadow of the sun retraces its route up the stairs, evidence that the Lord God would allow for King Hezekiah's healing. Other than that, despite the clever "but what ifs" that birth the best fiction, time moves in one direction -- forward.
I dare say any number of us, perhaps every single one of us even scarcely beginning to approach a significant number of years, wishes time travel were possible, if only to go back into our own distant, or not so distant past. Perhaps we would rectify a wrong we have done or make a different choice on where to go to college or whether or not to go to college at all. Different schools, different spouses, different choices, who would we be today if we could change yesterday?
It has always astonished me that God's omniscience could see me from the vantage point of the cross, existing as he does outside of time. He could see me, innocence born, but nevertheless born with the same terminal illness that infected my parents and their parents, and their parents before them, since time out of mind. And he could see me in any possible permutation brought about by the free will choices I have made, moment-by-moment and day-by-day.
Even more astonishing is that his omniscience reveals me at my very best and me at my very worst. I cannot limit the Creator of all things, none of us can. If I could, I would only let him see me at my very best: when I am kind, when I am generous, when I am loving and selfless. (Sadly, he wouldn't see much of me if that were the case, but it would always be the "good" he'd see.)
In Luke, chapter 14, Jesus begins to challenge the huge crowds that followed him wherever he went with the cost of discipleship.
He certainly understood the cost of obedience. Paul tells us that he became obedient "even unto death" in Philippians 2:8. And Jesus wanted to be certain that those who sought to follow him also understood the cost of obedience, warning them that, "If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters--yes, even their own life -- such a person cannot be my disciple. And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple."
Jesus surely counted the cost of his ministry -- the prophet Isaiah enumerates only a portion of that cost in chapter 53, a prophecy given to him some 700 years before the birth of Jesus.
We know of a certainty that Jesus counted the cost and deemed you, and me, worthy of the price.
"It is finished..." John 19:30 (NIV)
I don't have all the answers, but I know the One who does. Let's walk together for awhile and discover Him together.