Why Ask When?

You’ll notice that each of the 4 framing questions starts with a different word. I’m not just to avoid repetition. There’s actually a strategy behind it. So, why ask when?

“When” is about time. It forces us to think about a moment or period of time when this question was true of us. Asking “when” often brings an image to mind that represents a deeper meaning to us.

So why do we start with time?

God’s first creation

Genesis 1 is the story of creation, but what was the first thing God created? The heavens and the earth? Not according to the Bible. Before God created the heavens and the earth, he created time. Otherwise, the Bible couldn’t start with the words, “In the beginning…” (Gen. 1:1).

God has no beginning or end. That’s what it means that he is eternal. Time did not exist until he created it, and he exists outside of time. That’s a big concept that I’ve written more about here.

God may have created time at the same moment he created the heavens and the earth. But he didn’t create one without the other. As a result, we are born into time and never live a moment of our lives outside of it.

But, because we are created in God’s image, we are aware that something exists outside of time, even though we don’t (Ecc. 3:11). And, when we trust in Christ, we receive the promise of eternal life (John 6:40), and our spirit then can connect to God’s eternal Spirit (Rom. 8:23-27).

So, we live with this tension. We are bound by time, but we are built for something outside of it. That was ok in a world without death and decay. But when sin entered the world, it became a formula for stress and frustration.

God knows that, and he stepped into time to meet us. That’s what Jesus did when he lived and died on earth. He has “reconciled” us to him (Col. 1:21-22), and he has given us his Word to remind us that we are not bound by time because we belong to Christ (John 6:68-69).

That’s not a one-and-done realization. We will come up against this tension again and again and need to be reminded each time that God has chosen to work through us in time. Our work is always a battle against time.

Time is the first thing that reminds us that we are not God. And it is the one thing that we have in common with every other human being.

Why Ask When?

So, I start by asking, “When do you want to be noticed?” That question will shine a light on our stress and frustration with how we think God is working (or not working) in the world through us.

Once we are aware of that tension, we are in a better place to hear God say something about it.

To see how this can play out, click here.