• Today's Daily Devotion
Seventeen Minutes
There are moments when time slows down. Capt. Robert Crisp of the British 3rd Royal Tank Regiment led his squadron of tanks into action near Tobruk in November 1941. The ...

Seventeen Minutes

There are moments when time slows down. Capt. Robert Crisp of the British 3rd Royal Tank Regiment led his squadron of tanks into action near Tobruk in November 1941. The order to advance came at exactly 1:00 p.m., sending his unit into an attack against a German formation about one thousand yards away. After penetrating the enemy position, Crisp had to halt his tank on the edge of a steep embankment where he continued firing.

Suddenly he was showered with water and realized that the water cans stored on the back of his turret had been hit. Looking back he saw a German anti-tank gun only fifty yards away loading for another shot. He could only stare in amazement as the gun ejected a puff of smoke, and he felt his tank shudder from the hit. He looked down in his turret to see a gaping hole and a wounded gunner. With only seconds before the anti-tank gun could reload, he frantically ordered his driver over the precipice. The tank dropped out of the line of fire and continued down a dry wadi until eventually emerging at a point away from the battle. Crisp recalled later:

We followed the wadi southwards as it grew shallower, eventually disgorging us unobtrusively on to the plateau over which we had charged so bravely… when? An hour ago? Today? Yesterday? And how many lives ago? My wrist watch was staring me in the face as we paused on the rim of the depression. The hands pointed to 17 minutes past one. 17 minutes.

I have seen men age years after being under fire for minutes. Time is relative from our human perspective, passing faster or slower in different situations. But what about God’s perspective? We know that God created time itself and is not constrained by it. He lives outside it. The old hymn says it well: “A thousand ages in Thy sight are like an evening gone.” If we can keep God’s perspective in mind, the significance of our time on Earth will shrink in comparison with our eternal future.

He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

—Ecclesiastes 3:11


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