A watch representing man’s time is used as a profound metaphor in the latest Marvel movie, “Wonder Woman”. We never know when the people or things we love most will expire, but what we do know is this: We have the present time to make a difference for each other that can last eternally. I have a story of a friend who is an exceptionally gifted artist who didn’t miss a beat in responding with her gift of love at a very sad time for someone else. It is with permission from both artist and the recipient of this drawing I will tell you the following story about an experience that happened while creating this portrait.
Upon hearing the sad and tragic news of our mutual friend’s husband passing, I phoned my artist friend to tell her the grave news. Her immediate reply was, “I am going to draw a picture of him to give to her.” She felt it pertinent to give her gift as soon as possible, but when she was nearly finished with her drawing, she became stuck on his left eye. After pleading with the Lord by telling Him that she was nearly out of time and that she needed His guidance to finish it, she felt inspired to audibly address the young deceased man because, after all, it was him she needed to portray.
Immediately after her plea, she was prompted to begin again from scratch, only this time, “It went super fast and I was surprised that I was already done. Of course, I don’t know if it was him who helped me or Heavenly Father, or if He sent a heavenly being. I just know without a doubt that I received heavenly help because I know what I am physically capable of doing by myself”, said my artist friend. She finished her drawing in just over 10+ hours, (usually would have taken 40+), a remarkable speed. She told me how fast her hands were guided as if they were laser beams of light. Her sense of time had been altered from man’s time, to God’s time because the accuracy in her gifting the portrait was nothing short of a miracle. After our friend had spent a very difficult but sacred time at the funeral home (due to the nature of his accident), our friend was greeted at her doorstep with this portrait, offering her much needed comfort and solace. In what other way would the timing of this occurrence been possible had it not been for divine intervention.
Have you ever had a time in your life when it seemed as if time stood still? I think we can all agree that the best description of this place is like “la la land”- “a euphoric dreamlike mental state detached from the harsher realities of life” Webster Dictionary. Perhaps you felt it on your wedding day, the birth of a child or when you reached a milestone in your life. These are moments in our lives when time stands still, and yet, logically we know it hasn’t because time is the same. What is it that makes time seem different to us during certain moments in our lives? The exploration of this phenomenon can be seen through two mediums of thought: Man’s time and God’s time or perhaps when we are doing “the right thing at the right time, at the right place”.
Having just returned from”La La Land”, ahem, the Griffith observatory, I learned that man’s time is debatable, but “la la land” time isn’t and neither is God’s time. Man’s time is defined as a fundamental structure of the Universe, independent of events where things happen in sequence-a realists view. It’s opposing view is that time cannot be contained-it is an intellectual structure together with space and number where humans compare events. Then there is the idea that time is neither an event nor thing and cannot be measured or travelled. I believe in a universal truth that time equals mortality and therefore, like the watch metaphor in “Wonder Woman”, man is given this life as a probationary time to be tested whether he will follow the forces of evil, or the forces of love and good; living under God’s time and framework which is obedience to His laws and commandments.
What is God’s time? Elder Neal A. Maxwell observed, “Time is clearly not our natural dimension. Thus it is that we are never really at home in time. Alternately, we find ourselves impatiently wishing to hasten the passage of time or to hold back the dawn. We can do neither, of course. Whereas the bird is at home in the air, we are clearly not at home in time—because we belong to eternity.”
Maybe the following statement combines the two types of time when John Anson Ford said the following about Griffith J. Griffith’s vision of the creation of his observatory: “The experience moved him profoundly – a distant, heavenly body suddenly being brought so close and made so real!” Ford quotes Griffith as saying “Man’s sense of values ought to be revised. If all mankind could look through that telescope, it would change the world!”. Like in the movie “Wonder Woman”, we must see time and why we are on this earth like a God sees it; with an all-seeing eternal eye. This means we have a specific purpose in this life, but how can we find it with all the confusion “Aries” or Satan puts in our way and into our hearts? What must we have to see like a God? Perhaps Griffith’s entire purpose in creating his observatory was to help man gain a sense of God’s vision that would invoke a sense of values within mankind?
Man’s sense of values!!! This is a key component in understanding God’s time which is structured not through man’s time but rather through obedience to His laws and commandments. Think of eternity as a series of acts in obedience/disobedience and the consequences that follow based upon the first and great commandment to love thy God and the second is likened unto it to love our neighbor. Once we get a handle on this concept, we are able to see through the powerful telescope of God’s eye which is charity and the pure love of Christ, or, an eternal “la la land”. “Hopefully we will know more one day about how scientific theories fit together with God’s eternal laws. But though there are still many things we don’t know, what we can say for sure is that time is relative—both from a scientific perspective and a scriptural perspective. In the Doctrine and Covenants, Joseph Smith addresses this concept: “In answer to the question—Is not the reckoning of God’s time, angel’s time, prophet’s time, and man’s time, according to the planet on which they reside? I answer, Yes.” (D&C130:4–5). C. Robert Line, How Does God’s Time Really Work?
After much prayer and fasting, God said the following through the prophet Alma about man’s time: “Now whether there is more than one time appointed for men to rise it mattereth not; for all do not die at once, and this mattereth not; all is as one day with God, and time only is measured unto men.”Alma 40:8 “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: “A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; … “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;“… A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; …“… A time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Eccl. 3:1–2, 4–5, 7). “The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God who sitteth upon his throne, who is in the bosom of eternity, who is in the midst of all things. Doctrine and Covenants 88:13 Time is the sun or the Son.
Man’s clock began as soon as death was introduced into the equation. This concept is beautifully illustrated in Genisus “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Genesis 2: 15-17 As soon as Adam and Eve partook of the fruit in the garden of Eden, they fell from God’s presence and His time. Soon thereafter, Adam and Eve covenanted with God to obey His laws and keep His commandments and He promised to send them a Savior to redeem them from the fall.
C. S. Lewis observed: “God is not hurried along in the Time-stream of this universe any more than an author is hurried along in the imaginary time of his own novel. He has infinite attention to spare for each one of us. He does not have to deal with us in the mass. You are as much alone with Him as if you were the only being He had ever created. When Christ died, He died for you individually just as much as if you had been the only man in the world.” The fall was not only spiritual, it was literal and that is when “man’s time” began. God placed Cherubim and a flaming sword to protect the tree of life so that Adam and Eve could not partake of the fruit of the tree of life and live forever in their sins. “And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life”. Genesis 3: 22-24
God’s clock isn’t relative to us and the closest thing to it is the Law of God. This refers to self governance and management. Man’s ability to overcome his natural man’s tendencies in this life is essential in his eternal “la la land”. “And thus we see, that there was a time granted unto man to repent, yea, a probationary time, a time to repent and serve God.” Alma 42:4 We are here on earth for a “time” to learn how to master our appetites, passions and desires, thus evolving from our beastly nature to a form of Godliness. However, because there is no beginning nor end for God, he patiently awaits for us to learn and develop our relationship with Him through our agency, and when we figure this out by seeing with His eyes, our relationship with Him takes care of all other things we naturally struggle with because of Christ’s atonement (who is like our Marvel hero, “Wonder Woman”). Things begin to fall into place, or at least become easier and time will stand still as we live in harmony with His laws. Sweet becomes sweeter, speed and efficacy to do hard things in the face of adversity are less complicated and time will seem like an illusion, just as it was for my artist friend.
“Wise are those who make this commitment: I will put the Lord first in my life, and I will keep His commandments. The performance of that commitment is within everyone’s control. We can fulfill that commitment without regard to what others decide to do, and that commitment will anchor us no matter what timing the Lord directs for the most important events in our lives.
The most important principle of timing is to take the long view. Mortality is just a small slice of eternity, but how we conduct ourselves here—what we become by our actions and desires, confirmed by our covenants and the ordinances administered to us by proper authority—will shape our destiny for all eternity. As the prophet Amulek taught, “This life is the time for men to prepare to meet God” (Alma 34:32). That reality should help us take the long view—the timing of eternity”. Timing, Elder Dallin H. Oaks Ensign 2003
How are we using this precious probationary time? Have we set our “watches” on eternal time while seeking for those “la la land” moments? Is the world around us changing into a profound expansion of a heavenly and holier sphere? What REALLY matters most in life? Why else are we here? When our friend looks at this loving and beautiful portrait of her husband everyday, I feel she will be transported into another time and space as she looks into her husbands eyes and sees him looking indefinitely back into hers as if time stands still for them; an eternal “la la land”.