Eternity in Our Hearts

Bringing what endures into everyday life

When Trouble Surrounds

26 Comments

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?

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He was, He is, and He is to come.

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.

“… anyone who comes to God must believe that 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.

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God IS with you.

God IS faithful.

God IS the one who goes ahead of you.

God IS for you.

God IS able.

God IS your refuge and strength, an ever-present help in time of trouble.

God is a refuge to protect you and a strength to help you overcome. Both defense AND offense.” *

God hems us in – behind and before. When troubles surround us, friend, may we remember that the eternal arms enclose us.

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.

*******

Linking today with encouragers, Meredith Bernard and Holley Gerth. Their writing reminds me of all the beautiful ways that God IS –

#woman2woman Wednesdays

“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 –

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. ‘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.”

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.”

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. 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

Author: Renee Ratcliffe

Http://About.me/reneeratcliffe/#

26 thoughts on “When Trouble Surrounds

  1. Beautiful, Renee. I am blessed by your words and your friendship.

  2. That is beautiful Hope you put out there. Praying it will bring the right people to this today… knowing there are people searching for this.

    What I kept thinking when reading this was that hope isn’t a feeling. God is working on me in regards to that. I am such an emotional person. My life rocks when I don’t ‘feel’ the right thing. So thank you for staying being all about ‘my theme’ today. 😉

    • Thank you for stopping by and reading. I enjoy connecting with new friends and like-hearted sisters 🙂 I am right with you – often shifting with feelings – but thankful that God is true and unchanging!!
      Gratefully,
      Renee

  3. This was meaningful to me, since we just took our oldest son to college 2 weeks ago, and I am really struggling with it!! Our youngest son went to heaven before he was born at 16 weeks, and so much of this college stuff feels like a loss too- but in a different way- Anyway this was beautiful and so good to read- Thank you!!

    • Thanks for being here and reading. I’m grateful for your encouraging and honest words. Saying a prayer for you – May God show Himself to be ever-present and enough for every need today. And even when we don’t “feel” it, I pray that truth and hope will settle deep in our souls, like an anchor.
      Grace and peace, with gratitude ~
      Renee

  4. Renee, this is lovely. Eternity has been on my heart a lot lately, too. I keep reminding myself how unimportant many of the things we put emphasis on in this life truly are. Disciplining myself to focus more on Him. It isn’t always easy! But so worth it. Thanks for this. So much truth here.

  5. The “divine, eternal reality” writing today is truth-filled and beautiful. You take believers into the unseen – so needed! Glad I stopped by. You offer beauty up to the Lord, here, and I pray your words plant seeds in many hearts for harvest. Blessings

  6. Love the part about time belonging to God. Powerful message I needed to hear!

  7. These are beautiful thoughts on eternity…the true significance of it all, and it IS significant, whether we choose to realize it or embrace it or not. I also love the reminder that when life gets hard (or stays hard in different ways every day), we needn’t look far for help…He is already there. Always waiting. Always willing. Waiting. Thank you for linking up, I’m so glad to have your words available to read and share! Blessings today…mb

  8. Such encouraging thoughts, Renee. I love the picture of Jesus enclosing His arms around us when troubles surround us. Thank you for comforting my heart today.

    • Thank you, Trudy. I love this promise – The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:27). As you said, such a comfort to experience His power AND His presence!
      Warmly,
      Renee

  9. Just beautiful, Renee. Each time someone I love goes on to be with the Lord, I tell myself that Heaven just gets sweeter. What a comforting truth to remind ourselves that from the beginning to the end, the Lord has it all under control

  10. This was simply beautiful. I need to be reminded that HE IS. I also love the reminder that eternity is everlasting to everlasting. We do tend to think of it as far off, but it really is in our hearts daily. Even when we don’t “feel” like it.

    • Thank you, Teresa, for stopping by. So glad we’ve connected! Yes, “eternity … is in our hearts daily. Even when we don’t “feel” like it.” I’m thankful!!
      Gratefully,
      Renee

  11. “To me, this means that eternity is not so much a death-changer as it is a life-changer.”
    I love this 🙂 I think eternity could not be more relevant to ANY of this. I simply do not believe that being too Heavenly minded produces little earthly good. Thats an equation that does not make sense. The reverse of that is often the problem. Great thoughts

    • Thank you, Somer, for reading and offering these encouraging thoughts. I agree with you that the reverse, being too earthly minded, is often the problem – even my problem at times! May God give us grace to lift up our eyes today!
      Gratefully,
      Renee

  12. I love how you said eternity is not far away, it is here. We need to always remember that!

  13. Renee, great post and timely reminder as so many of us face daily trials…

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