A friend recently shared these lines with me, from the poem, “Time’s Paces,” by Henry Twells.
When as a child I laughed and wept, time crept.
When as a youth I dreamed and talked, time walked.
When I became a full grown man, time ran.
When older still I daily grew, time flew.
Soon I shall find in travelling on, time gone.
We can construe Twells’ brief but profound stanzas either positively or negatively. The unbeliever must view them in despair, mourning a physical demise that will too soon approach and confront him. If he realized that death does not portend of non-existence, he would despair even more. “It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this, the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
The clock’s racing hands may also tempt believers with a sense of sadness as our present life seems to increasingly slip away. We should actually rejoice, however, in the blessed truth declared by the Apostle Paul:
“I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart and to be with Christ, which is far better” (Philippians 1:23).
I love the little word “far” in Paul’s affirmation of a departure not into nothingness, but into Christ Himself. Three letters comprise a word that speak of an eternal glory of blessedness for which we have little frame of reference. Of course, our Savior dwells with us in our present life through the indwelling Holy Spirit given to all believers (John 14:17). Our experiential apprehension of God is limited, however, although it can be overwhelmingly wonderful and heart-fulfilling. Nevertheless, that which is to come is far better. We can only imagine what the “better” promises, and then rejoice all the more in the glory of “far!”
We need not mourn at the prospect of “in travelling on, time gone.” We rather rejoice in a life presently lived with our Lord, and in a life to come “far” more lived with Him. The clock indeed races, and seemingly at an ever-increasing pace. What a relief! And what a prospect for born again believers in the Lord Jesus who increasingly realize that “time gone” promises the full realization of the Psalmist’s exultation…
“In Thy presence is fullness of joy; at Thy right hand are pleasures forevermore.”