Last week I had the pleasure of attending a celebration in honor of my grandson. Friends and family were invited to share in a flood of pizza and cake. Children chased each other around a massive playground occasionally making pit stops for water breaks and minor first aid. The adults sat comfortably in the shade chatting about kids, jobs, and hobbies. After a while, all the children were corralled back to the pavilion for the main event: the opening of presents. For my grandson, it was a day to remember. After all, he had just completed his fifth successful lap around the sun. He blew out five candles planted on top of the cake, each one representing a completed lap. It was his birthday.
We measure all things in relation to time, one of God’s most wonderful creations. Time is simply a series of cycles: laps around the sun, revolutions of the planet, and so on. When you look at any situation … well, it is what it is. It is not what it could be. It is not what it was. It is what it is. When one finally meets Christ in the final judgment and is presented with his own IIWII (it is what it is), time is a way of showing how one has arrived at his own IIWII. Time is essential in assessing the path taken, a manner of showing your work, much like a teacher might require in a math class. In the end, it is what it is. The showing of one’s work is the marrow of all tales. Why did Jonah end up in the belly of a fish? Why was Saul’s kingdom taken from him? How a man uses his time is an integral part of the recipe for creating his own dish of IIWII … it is what it is.
We often think of time as a barrier, uttering phrases like “being trapped in time”. When viewed correctly, time is a very useful and necessary tool. It is impossible to measure progress without time. Many homes have a doorpost decorated with horizontal marks recording the height of a child after the completion of each lap around the sun. Parents can see the growth of the child by affirming the latest mark as the tallest. Can you imagine what would happen if the mark recorded after his eighth lap revealed that the child was actually three inches shorter than last year? What would the reaction be if his shoes were suddenly too big for him? There would be a deep concern about his progress. Doctors would be hired to investigate that last lap, looking for causes. What type of nutrition had the child received? Was his environment detrimental to his growth? What had changed? There would be no argument as to the condition and a relentless examination to determine the causes. Three inches shorter would not be acceptable.
What if each one of us had a doorpost in our own homes where we measured our spiritual progress at the completion of each lap? How would we react if we found ourselves to be spiritually shorter than we were at the completion of the previous lap? Would there be a concern and in-depth examination or would it be acceptable?
My mother was on her 69th lap when her race abruptly and unexpectedly ended. She had no forewarning. We are not promised a certain number of laps. It was her time to present her own IIWII in judgment. Each one of us has formed our own IIWII, our current spiritual condition. The uncertainty of life highlights the importance of using time (a gift from God) to measure our progress and take steps to improve our condition. What did you do on your last lap and what are you planning to do on this lap? Is your current IIWII acceptable to you? Are you willing to bet eternity on it?