Recently, I have been struck by the inadequacy of many friendships. It’s not that I have encountered great bitterness, or hatred, just a superficiality masking a deep and crippling reality of isolation and rejection.
I have lived in London for the past seven years; one of the largest and most densely populated centres on the planet. But I have encountered far more who struggle with loneliness here than in the small provincial town where I grew up.
What’s the root here?
I think its mostly that we keep trying to get past the person in front of us. We’re so ‘connected’ that we’re actually disconnected from the moment. We can’t see what is here right now because we’re constantly trying to get what is a little bit further ahead. We’re all together in the same place, but we’re not really together.
At the close of the film, Boyhood, the central character, having just arrived at college and taken an impromptu visit to a nearby desert area, sits on a small hill with another college student. She turns to him and says,
You know how everyone’s always saying seize the moment? I don’t know, I’m kind of thinking it’s the opposite. You know, like, the moment seizes us.
I was struck by this as being surprisingly profound. In the modern world we act like we own time and we are the ones holding our universe together.
The past few days, I have had Ephesians 1:10 bouncing round my brain.
…that in the dispensation of the FULLNESS of the times He might GATHER TOGETHER IN ONE ALL THINGS in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. (NKJV, emphasis added)
Jesus actually owns time, and he is using it to work out His purpose. The psalmist said, my times are in Your hands; the prophet Daniel said God changes the times and the seasons. In Greek, the word ‘fullness’, above, speaks of a maturity. Jesus is maturing time like a fine wine until all His purposes come to completion. Yet we treat time like something we can seal up in bottles and keep in the cupboard.
One of Jesus’ main purposes revealed in Ephesians 1:10 is to gather everything together to Himself. His heart longs for everything in this world that has become separated from Him to return to Him. No wonder so many feel separated and lonely. We refuse to yield to His order, which would actually include gathering us together, and we try to institute our own order in our lives. To help myself grasp this, I put a note on my wall with the words,
I don’t seize time. Time is God’s. I let God seize me in time.
Why don’t you take 90 seconds right now, and consider what it would mean for you to let God seize you in every moment.
Colossians 1:17 says:
And He Himself existed before all things, and IN HIM all things consist (cohere, are HELD TOGETHER). (AMPLIFIED, emphasis added)
I’ve heard many Christians talk and pray about healing division in the Church, and the need for healing between the Church and the Jewish people. I’m convinced it starts with surrender. Many times, we don’t have rewarding relationships with those around us because we have neglected right relationship with our Creator. If we genuinely surrender to God’s long-term purposes in our daily moments by loving the one in front of us and ‘practicing God’s presence’ in constant prayer, I’m convinced that we will begin to see the healing we are looking for; healing in our relationships with those around us, healing in the Church, and healing for the Jewish people. It’s only in abiding in Christ, by the power of the Cross, that His purposes will be fulfilled in and through us.
For He is [Himself] our peace (our bond of unity and harmony). He has made us both [Jew and Gentile] one [body], and has broken down (destroyed, abolished) the hostile dividing wall between us, by abolishing in His [own crucified] flesh the enmity… (Ephesians 2:14-15, AMPLIFIED)