In the late ’60s, there was a television show called “Time Tunnel,” starring James Darren as Dr. Tony Newman and Robert Colbert as Dr. Doug Phillips.
Darren and Colbert played the parts of two research scientists who developed the top secret Time Tunnel, only to become lost in it, tumbling among the infinite corridors of time.
Each episode portrayed a new attempt to bring the time travelers back to present day, but naturally each attempt only brought them into a new crisis that would be solved in the following week’s episode.
The Tunnel Team found it easy to send the scientists into the documented past or fling them into a fantasy world of the future, but bringing them back into the present always was an enigma.
When it comes to faith, I think most of us can relate to that. Like the TT scientists, it’s easy to relate to becoming lost in the inspiration of the past.
When you look at world religions, it’s plain to see they all talk about a past life. Jews find the ancient words of Abraham Isaac and Jacob contain valuable lessons. Christianity is based on the inspired life of and words of Jesus. Millions of Muslims find inspiration in the Koran, written thousands of years ago.
They also include a future. The Jews look for the Messiah, the Christians look for Jesus’ return and the Muslims look for paradise.
Nevertheless, these religions all aim to bring faith into the present. And you can only be said to be “living your faith” if you are able to live it in this present life among all you encounter.
In the hospital, when I see people struggle with bringing their faith into the present, they can usually be divided into two categories. I meet folks who are looking to their past for their faith or I encounter people who look for God in their future.
Those looking to their past often are heard telling God their regrets. They say they are sorry for mistreating their family or for drinking too much or for missing some grand opportunity. The truth is, I meet few people who are qualified to sing Sinatra’s “My Way.”
No, I usually hear them sing a tune of regret and call upon God to forgive them. Wonderfully, he does.
But I often wonder how phenomenal it would be if we could live our faith in the now instead of recycling the past.
Those looking to their future often will be heard promising God a new future. They swear if their current diagnosis is not true, they’ll surrender their lives to God. Foxhole prayers. They do this because promising a future is much easier than promising your “now.”
Yet at the end of the day, whether it’s faith of the past or hope in the future, faith has to make a difference today. We must be constantly finding ways to bring the words of our faith into the present.
We must busy ourselves with questions of how we will turn our other cheek, today. We must struggle with how we will love our neighbor as ourselves, today. For time tunnel faith never will stand the real test of time.