I’m sure your social media feed is filled with pictures of kindergarteners, high school seniors, and even a few college students. I posted them too 🙂
Especially with the seniors, I’ve noticed, parents post something like:
It’s the first day of the last year!
It’s the beginning of the end!
And the thought struck me that while the beginning and the end are usually two distinct places in time, sometimes the first and the last are one and the same.
I need to know that today.
Since my father died, I think about heaven a lot. I write about “eternity in our hearts.” And sometimes when I tell people this, maybe it’s just me, but I could swear that their eyes glaze over.
Maybe they think eternity is too distant. Boring. Unfathomable. Irrelevant.
I’m not a girl with a lot of theological thoughts to make sense of transcendent realities, but the thing about eternity that captures my heart is that it’s already here. From everlasting to everlasting He is God. And so, everything in the physical realm may be finite but my soul, bonded to Jesus, is not. God’s Kingdom is a divine, eternal reality, and Christ-followers are already its citizens.
But I get that some would say that being heavenly-minded is no earthly good in the face of present trials. On this day, there are bills to pay and treatments to endure and marriages on the brink and bosses to please and disagreements to settle.
Believe me, I know.
So how is eternity comforting – in this present moment?
There are these days when I don’t feel it.
But I believe in Jesus and trust Him when He says He is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. Just as alpha and omega are the bookends of the Greek alphabet, Jesus is the One who holds all things together.
I’m encouraged by these words from John Piper: “… since everything comes from God and nothing will outlast God, therefore God has no final competitors.”
To me, this means that eternity is not so much a death-changer as it is a life-changer.
There is no suffering, no terrorist, no grief that can outlast God. No diagnosis nor weakness can supersede His control. No injustice can thwart His ability to work good. No loss will slip outside of His purposes.
If I trust Jesus for my eternal salvation, how is any other concern too much to offer in faith?
I find rest in the reality that God was. He, the only Un-Created One, is the author of history (His story).
And I throw the whole weight of my hope upon the anticipation that He is to come. There will be a Day when He completes the history of existence as we know it. The Word in Romans 8 assures us that our present sufferings cannot be compared to the joys that await us in eternity.
But today, this hard day, I am remembering He IS.
I’m remembering God in the present because I am desperate for His presence. When the pressures of being wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, and writer close in, I need to draw close and breathe in grace. Because He is already there.
“God is a refuge to protect you and a strength to help you overcome. Both defense AND offense.” *
And because “time” is a concept created by God, He can end a time of trouble any time and any way He wants. But if He chooses to let that time linger, it remains within the constraints of His wisdom and sovereignty.
Because God IS, His promises are ever old, ever new, ever faithful through Christ.
Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday, and forever. The First and the Last are One and the Same.
“A broken heart leads to the true contentment of asking less of this life because more is coming in the next.” Joni Eareckson Tada – Heaven
Revelation 21 –
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
Deuteronomy 33:27 –
The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.
Photo credits: Lightstock
* Experiencing God’s Presence by Chris Tiegreen. Devotion for Oct. 2