Doctor Who: Time Management
Oh the glorious adventures of the mad man in his box. Doctor Who is one of those shows it took me forever to get into, and then when I tried, the first episode of the 9th Doctor almost killed me (not The Doctor, the whole trash can/Mickey thing). For those who aren’t quite to “Whovian” status, bear with me this will still be readable. The concept of The Doctor is a simple enough one. A time traveler running through space, saving the world wherever and whenever he lands. Taking on companions, showing them the worlds, learning from them, and breaking our hearts over and over again. The concept of living hundreds, or thousands of years is daunting to us (I think The Doctor is currently like 1200-1300 years old right now ). None of us ever want to die, but then again the concept of eternity, life never ending, is more than our small minds can comprehend.
Just like The Doctor stated in regards to what drove “The Master” insane; “ Some say that's where it all began, when he was a child. That's when the Master saw eternity. As a novice, he was taken for initiation. He stood in front of the Untempered Schism. It's a gap in the fabric of reality through which could be seen the whole of the vortex. We stand there, eight years old, staring at the raw power of time and space, just a child. Some would be inspired. Some would run away. And some would go mad.” That’s the crazy thing, God designed us to be aware of the concept of eternity, but at the same time we can’t fully understand it,
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” - Ecclesiastes 3:11
We as people are just so small and finite compared to all of what God does. It really feels at times like we don’t even belong in the same story. One of the things I find so fascinating that in 50 years of Doctor Who stores, The Doctor still struggles with the concept of time beyond what he has seen; as we see in the episode
“The Satan Pit,” where The Doctor comes face to face with Satan in a page right out of the book of “Revelation,” and he still can’t fully grasp it. “The Doctor: Except that implies - in this big grand scheme of Gods and Devils...But I've seen a lot of this universe. I've seen fake gods and bad gods and demi gods and would-be gods.. The Doctor: [pause] How did you end up on this rock? The Beast: The Disciples of the Light rose up against me and chained me in the pit for all eternity. The Doctor: When was this? The Beast: Before time. The Doctor: What does "Before time" mean? The Beast: Before time and light and space and matter. Before the cataclysm. Before this universe was created. The Doctor: That's impossible. No life could have existed back then. The Beast: Is that your religion? The Doctor: [pause] It's a belief. The Beast: You know nothing. All of you, so small.”
I think one of the reasons I love that episode so much is because even The Doctor, “The Oncoming Storm” himself, shudders, and feels small at the concept of “before time” and “eternity.”
Though I’ve come to grips that while I can’t grasp eternity, with or without a Tardis, I still believe whole heartedly there is a God who not only grasps it, but dwells in it. Just like the Psalmist
"A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.” Psalm 90:4 states
It’s not my job to try to fully grasp how eternity works, but I’m thankful that it’s offered to me.
“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” –John17:3. I don’t expect a science fiction character to present the Gospel, but every time I watch “Doctor Who” I am reminded that as he travels to periods before I was born and to period long after my body will have died; that because of Christ I will live in eternity. So I feel like more of “Time Lord” than all 12 of The Doctor’s incarnations.
So here’s a few more lessons I learned from The Doctor (okay actually I learned them from the Bible but I was reminded of them from Doctor Who).
You have to be careful who you trust, who you rely on with your time. You don’t want it to be wasted or put into jeopardy. Psalm 31: “ 14 But I trust in you, LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.’ 15 My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me.” Even for a time traveler, The Doctor was still surprised, a lot. He had a time machine and he still didn’t fully know the future. We would be wise to learn the same lesson.
James 4:13-15 “ Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” It seems that just like so many of us, The Doctor doesn’t really appreciate what he has until it’s gone. Whether it’s a companion, a friend, or he’s halfway through the regeneration process. We would be wise to take each day as it comes under the concept that our time is precious. To treat it as such and to live it to it’s fullest potential.
Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” "All of time and space, whatever happened or ever will. Where do you want to start?"