Posted by: glorifyhim1 | March 1, 2010

In Light of Eternity

As I awoke Saturday morning, the first news I heard was of the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that had rocked the South American country of Chile earlier that morning. It seemed almost too much to take in as I thought about this devastation so close on the heels of the destructive earthquake that hit the nation of Haiti just a few weeks earlier. In addition, I thought about my son and daughter-in-law, who although safe in their Atlanta apartment at the moment, could possibly be serving in Chile sometime in the next two or three years. I couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to awaken to such news and know that they were there – yet be unable to contact them to find out if they were okay.

My husband reminded me that you cannot think about things like that. While I do realize that, it is still hard to not let those little thoughts roost in my mind sometimes. It is especially difficult as I watch news reports of such devastation and hear the heartbreaking stories of loved ones that have been lost. I guess my reaction is a pretty normal human reaction. We want to do everything in our power to stay safe and keep our loved ones safe as well. One of the last things I always say to my husband or one of my kids when they leave is, “Be careful! Take care of yourself! I love you!”

But the sometimes cruel truth is that no matter how careful one may be, accidents sometimes happen. There are car wrecks, airplane crashes, tornados, random shooting sprees, and many other tragedies caused by both acts of men and God that can turn our individual lives upside down. In light of this truth, how do we keep from succumbing to fear and hopelessness? How do we face our uncertain futures with certainty and confidence?

Gradually, God is helping me learn that it’s all about perspective – an eternal perspective. The preacher in Ecclesiastes 3:11 explains that God “has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.” It is just our nature, the way we were created, that we desire to see the big picture. We want to understand the meaning of our troubles and trials. Yet we are limited by what we can see in the here and now which is just a tiny moment in the grand expanse of eternity. God, on the other hand, is not limited. He knows the big picture and every detail of our lives – today, tomorrow, and in eternity. And what is more, He not only knows, but in every believer’s life, He works everything out for our good and His glory (see Romans 8:28). Through the details of our lives, He works to conform us to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.

This is where we find hope in the midst of the uncertainties we face in life. Paul explains it best in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. “Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  

This eternal perspective keeps our eyes on God instead of our temporary troubles and trials. Our confidence in God, coupled with His amazing grace, gives us courage and strength to face the battles that each of us will inevitably encounter in this life. And Paul reminds us that no matter how grievous these present struggles may seem, they are only for a moment in the grand scheme of eternity.

When my kids were little, they didn’t always understand the rules their Dad and I expected them to obey. While we imposed rules that attempted to keep them safe and help them learn to be responsible, they often saw them as restrictive and demanding. Now that they are grown, however, they can see from a different perspective and can better understand the rules we imposed. As children of God, we need to realize that we are not going to be able to understand many of the struggles we face here on earth, but we have a God we can trust. One day when we can see our lives through the light of eternity, it will all be much clearer.

Until we have that eternal vision, however, we can be assured that God is with us whatever we’re going through. One of my favorite passages which I claim over and over comes from the prophet Isaiah. “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God” (Isaiah 43:1-2). What a promise to claim – I am His, both now and forever!

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