Many reference Revelation 10:6 as an indication that time will cease to exist when the end times unfold. The linguistic accuracy of the original King James Version translation has been called into question by some theologians, instigating some debate about this theory. However, the implications of existing in eternity (“and they will reign for ever and ever” Revelation 22:5 NIV) — rather than in a finite period of time like we do now — will regardless necessitate a shift in our relationship with time when we reach heaven.
So what does this have to do with change? Why broach a potentially provocative subject like the specifics of how heaven will work?
Here’s the rub: Time and change seem to be fundamentally interdependent. Change takes time. Time spawns change. When we seek to improve ourselves, we can only do so over time or — in even the quickest cases — in a finite, citable moment of time. If this is true and the two (time and change) are by nature linked, does that imply that in heaven there will be no more change?
Change causes pain. This could look like the surprise and dismay when someone asks us to change something about ourselves, or perhaps the discomfort of adopting a new regimen or lifestyle to bring about a physical change. It could manifest as the struggle and anxiety you feel when someone else refuses to change in a way that you know would benefit them, or the fear caused by knowing change is coming whether we like it or not. Revelation 21:4 tells us that when Jesus returns, “‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” So does this imply there will be no more change in heaven?
Whether or not change will be possible in heaven is an interesting, musing question that we can save for friendly debates over coffee or for the hallways of a seminary. However, one thing I know is that right now in this world where time, pain and change all preside with some degree of unavoidable governance, we are presented a unique opportunity.
When I train physically, whether a timed run or sets of exercises in the gym, the following mantra has proven motivating. I tell myself that while I still have time, while there are still seconds on the clock, I have the opportunity to dig in and work toward improvement.
I had a college basketball coach who would proselytize a similar notion: that we had the choice during each and every drill between “surviving” and “thriving.” By choosing to survive, we could coast and do the bare minimum. We could choose to work hard only when he was looking. We could cut corners and skimp on what we were asked to do. But as long as there were still practices left before the first game of the season, as long as remaining seconds still gleamed on the clock, as long as we were still (sometimes agonizingly) putting one foot in front of the other in a dead sprint, we still had time to change and improve. That’s how I see our days here on this earth.
Right now, you and I still have time. Each morning we wake up, we can decide whether we are going to coast or instead going to put forth effort to “survive or thrive.” We can choose whether we are going to invest in changing ourselves or decide that the way we are is good enough or throw in the towel. Time is quite a gift. It’s a vote of confidence in us straight from God. It’s an opportunity to work toward positive change. I encourage you to take the opportunity.
Lauren Schwaar is a college basketball coach, a freelance writer and a 2013 graduate of Greenville College.
- Does God require that we change?
- What is something about yourself that you’d like to change? What will it take to achieve that change?
- How can you take a positive step toward that change today?