You cannot step into the same river twice – Heraclitus (500 BCE).
Why is that? Because the river is different, and so are you. At no point in the future will both you and the river be the same. You might imagine you stay the same, but then you remember what you wrote, said, or wore in the past and you know you would not repeat that. Whatever changed you is marked by time. We humans are so immersed in time that we could no more imagine a world without chronology than a fish imagine life outside of water. To contemplate the vastness of time makes one feel rather small. And pointless.
In Carpe Diem Redeemed,” Os Guinness describes that feeling. “Our own small enterprises and endeavors appear to be whistling into the winds of history. In the end, the sands of time will cover everything without a trace of who we are and what we have done. Or so it seems.” So, what then is the meaning of life’s endeavors? Why live to make a mark or leave a legacy if time laughs at the irrelevance of it all?
However bleak the questions, you have reason to hope. God placed you on the scene when and where He wanted you to be. “In your book were all written the days that were ordained for me” (Psa. 139:16). Consider Queen Esther. Her step-father Mordecai urged her to risk her life by approaching the king to stop a plot against their people. “Who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this?” (Est. 4:14). Any day of your life could be the most meaningful for history and the purposes of God. Guinness writes, “Under the twin truths of God’s sovereignty and human significance, time and history are going somewhere, and each of us is not only unique and significant in ourselves, but we have a unique and significant part to play in our own lives, in our own generation, and therefore in the overall sweep of history.”
That part is best played by seeking to know your Creator. He “gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God” (Acts 17:25-27). That is why you are alive in these times.
Your life has meaning not because you found a way to make it so, but because your Creator has a purpose for you. Time is not a cruel eraser that removes your mark on this world. It is the context in which you find meaning in a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, who loves you. So step into that river, and be refreshed.