Other Summer Reading Challenge posts: Introduction,
Week Three: off
Thanks to Christie Hart for today’s Bible Challenge! See below for more about her and her writing.
TIME TRAVEL DEVOTIONAL #5: Jesus, the Time-Redeemer
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved–and raised us up with him and seated us together with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. –Ephesians 2:4-7
Bible Reading: Genesis 37-50 (or the story of Joseph in a children’s Bible)
Optional Further Reading: Romans 8:28-30; Isaiah 55:9; James 4:13-16; Psalm 110; Hebrews 12:18-29, Ephesians 1:3-14;
*Older kids may prefer to listen to this week’s interview with Jeff Baldwin rather than read this devotional.
Activity prop: a can or a jar filled with marbles
Is there anything you would like to change that has happened to you? Is there anything you would like to fix in time? Many time travel books are stories of people who try to do just that. But let’s think a little about whether or not trying to change events in time is a good idea.
In Mr. Baldwin’s talk, we learned about the butterfly effect—the idea that little causes like the flap of a butterfly wing may lead to major effects, like a giant storm. One thing we can learn from this theory is that time and space are far more complicated, far more complex than our small human minds can even imagine.
Our minds can handle the cause and effect we see in a “Newton’s cradle.” Do you have one? If not, you can look it up online to see what they do. A Newton’s cradle makes cause and effect look very simple, doesn’t it? That’s one reason it’s so fun to watch.
Activity: Pour your can of marbles out onto a hard, smooth surface—the floor is best!
Could you have predicted the way any of the marbles moved? The pattern and movements of the marbles aren’t neat and tidy like the steel balls in a Newton’s cradle. What could make each one move in a different way even though they are all the same shapes? Some marbles bounce off of each other, but tiny specks of dust, little changes in the surface of the floor, or little movements of the air may change the course of a marble.
The events of time look more like marbles poured out on the floor, don’t you think? But Scripture reveals to us that God is in control of all of the little causes and effects for a reason. Think about all of the little details in the story of Joseph in Genesis: a coat of many colors, dreams, traders who just happen to travel by, Potiphar’s wife, a chief baker, a chief cupbearer. Can you name any more details from the story? Do you think Joseph understood any of this as it was happening to him? We only understand now because God has revealed the mystery of it all to us: “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today” (Gen. 50:20).
As God’s people, we can trust that he is using all the little causes for very good effects in our lives. Why? Because he sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to be the Time-Redeemer! He promises that he will use everything for good for people who love him (Romans 8:28-30). We don’t have to change time if we understand that God is working even through the difficult details of our lives.
We can also trust our future plans to our Time-Redeemer. You may have planned a birthday party in the past that didn’t turn out any way like you had imagined it. But if you trust the Time-Redeemer, you can rest assured that he will give you the best presents through this life and the next: knowledge and trust in the wonderful love of God the Father, love for him and love for others, wisdom, understanding—the list goes on and on. (What are some of the gifts you most treasure that God gives you?)
Christie Hart is a mom, a reader, and author of a self-published book, MonoDude. She holds a master’s degree from Reformed Theological Seminary and serves as the Children’s Ministry Coordinator at Covenant Presbyterian Church.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our next to last travel devotional! Next week we’ll open our time capsules, so don’t forget to listen this week’s interview with Jeff Baldwin of Worldview Academy for more insight into a Christian view of time.