You have searched me, LORD, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, LORD, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. – Psalm 139:1-6
One of the most interesting and sometimes challenging things to teach younger students is the concept of the time zones. Because we are most familiar with our immediate surroundings, we tend to assume that everyone else is experiencing the same things we are. Globalization has also contributed to the difficulty. Because the media and the Internet provide us with immediate access to nearly every corner of the world, we assume once again that things are happening based on our own timeframe and according to our own perspectives. It’s once we start traveling that we begin to see the differences. The Today Show on NBC airs from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. in New York City, which means that it has been off the air for an hour before it begins in Los Angeles. I enjoy talking with a friend of mine in London when I catch him on Facebook or Skype. If I stay up late I can sometimes catch him waking up early (yes, he has kids). In these circumstances I will often ask him how tomorrow is going, is it worth waking up for, or I’ll simply leave him in charge of the planet until I wake up later (and I can usually blame him for most of the mishaps that occur).
I may be overthinking it, but the continual movement of time impresses me. Think about it: is there ever a time when the sun is not rising or setting? Someone is always waking up. Someone is always heading to bed. The work day never stops starting and as the song points out – it’s always 5:00 somewhere! Midday in Washington DC means end of the morning rush in Seattle, dinner time in Paris, and Hong Kong is in bed getting ready to start tomorrow. So when you stop and think about it, everything is different.
There is one part of the clock that is common in most every time zone. The hour hand changes with every time zone you enter, but the minutes hand remains the same. 10:22 in Miami is 9:22 in Chicago, 8:22 in Denver, and 7:22 in San Francisco. And so the bigger time block (hours) are all different but the smaller time measurements (minutes) are all the same. And it is here, in this commonality that I found a most interesting parallel.
In life, many of us gear up for the major events that happen. We all get the opportunities to deal with gains and losses, births and deaths, victories and defeats. Major life events occur on a continual basis throughout the world. In the time it takes you to read this blog, literally hundreds of people will have been born, been hired or fired from a job, fell in love or separated from a loved one, made or lost a million dollars, discovered or invented something, retired, and/or died. These are major life events and they are happening all the time. But even more than the big events, think about the smaller things that every man, woman and child on our planet share. Literally millions of people are currently eating a meal, listening to a song, driving a car, hugging someone, feeling sad, and/or having a good day. The human experience is shared, but the commonality is most prevalent in the little things that happen minute by minute.
We live our lives heavily focused on the hours. Planners and calendars list our days by the hour (and often only from 8:00 – 6:00), but when’s the last time life happened at the top of the hour? Thankfully we have a God that knows and connects with us on a minute by minute basis. We often ask people we care about to tell us about their day. How deeply would you need to love someone to want to hear a minute by minute account of their thoughts, feelings, and responses to the events of their day? It is at our most basic levels where God’s interest in us lies. His love is comprehensive. His mercy is complete. Because of His great love for us, we can move forward in boldness, confident that our God is not merely 24/7, but with us 1,440 minutes a day.