What does it say about our culture that my email autocorrects the word “belovedness” to “belatedness”?
How did we get to where instead of living in the delight of being loved, we live in the fear of being late, behind, too slow to get in on the conversation, have kids, finish the book, or keep up with those leading the pack?
I’m sure someone could give a historico-cultural exegesis of how we got here, but that someone is not me. Not today.
Instead, I simply want to say that if you’re having one of those moments (or months) where your belovedness feels farther from the truth than your belatedness—or the belatedness of everything you do—it’s not true.
The culture may whisper it to you; your boss may, your kids, your spouse, or, especially, that hard-to-silence judge in your own head. But just for a moment let’s still and listen to the voice of the One who alone has the right to tell us who we are. This, friend, is what he says:
You are beloved.
Or, more directly, I love you.
I, the Creator who dreamed you, the Spirit who breathed you, the Son who redeemed you, I know you, delight in you, cherish and desire to live close to you—I in you and you in me—for all of eternity.
“The LORD delights in his people” (Ps. 149:4; 147:11)
“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you” (Jer 1:5, c.f. Psalm 139:13-16; Eph 1:4).
“You are mine. . . You are precious and honored in my sight and. . . I love you” (Isaiah 43:1,4; c.f. Eph 1:4ff, 2:4ff).
This, too, is what he says:
You are not belated—
not in any way that really matters—when you dwell in the One who lives from eternity past to eternity future, and holds this small stretch we call “time” in his hand.
Jesus is the One chosen before the creation of the world, and “when the time had fully come,” revealed for our sake. (1 Pet. 1:20; Gal 4:4). He’s never late, never early, always coming into the world and into our hours at the perfect time. And, when we are in him and he in us, our lives hidden in Christ with God, we too can live in the confidence that God is working all the moments and details of our days into his beautiful plan.
“My times are in Your hands” (Ps. 31:15).
“All the days ordained for me were written in his book before one of them came to be” (Ps 139).
“You go before me and follow me; you place your hand of blessing on my head” (Ps 139:5, NLT).
Jesus had to choose too.
As we enter this Holy Week, walking with Jesus to the cross, I remember how he, too, had to keep choosing to live in his belovedness and trust his life’s timing to his Father.
His ministry began, of course, with his baptism and the words of his Father spoken over him, “You are my Son whom I love.” Immediately afterwards, he entered the desert, where each temptation was aimed to cause him to act on his own rather than trusting his Father’s timing and love. “You’re hungry. Don’t wait for your Father to provide. Turn the stones into bread.” “Worship me, and I’ll give you all the kingdoms of the world. Right now. Without the wait. Without the suffering.”
Throughout his ministry, Jesus listened and waited and followed his Father’s timing. “I only do what I see my Father do,” he said, living in a deep awareness of when his time had not yet come and when it was drawing near (John 5:19; 2:4; 7:6,8,30; 12:23; 13:1; 17:1; Matt 26:18).
He lived a mere thirty-three years of life, including his three years of ministry. Most of us would consider death at age thirty-three a life cut far too short, while we’d feel three hours of darkness on the cross an eternity, and three days in a tomb as an interlude to life an impossibility. But we have a God who creates worlds with a word, and knows how to make time stand still (Josh 10:13). A God for whom a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day (2 Pet 3:8).
From belatedness back to belovedness
It’s not an instant “undo” to shift our thinking back from belatedness to belovedness, or from seeing time as our master to time as a gift and a servant of our Father who loves us. Our culture wires us to see time, and ourselves—and most everything else, for that matter—quite differently than God does. But as we walk this week with Jesus toward the cross and out into the bright day of new life, will you join me in asking God to help us see as he sees? I somehow think that’s the kind of prayer God delights to answer.
P.S. Need a little more help thinking differently about time? Or about your belovedness as we enter Holy Week? You might be interested in these posts:
One Simple Step to Reclaim Time (Thanks, Mom, for pointing out that this post gives a run-down of how our culture got to where we focus more on our belatedness than our belovedness!)