Since the news of my grandmother’s passing last Thursday, I haven’t been able to not think about her. I’ve been restless through the night and lethargic during the day. I know it is natural that her death is affecting me this way, but what is not natural is death itself.
Death is unnatural because it is not how God created it to be. The world He spoke into existence was perfection, full of abundant life for forever. But when sin entered the garden, everything changed. The life of perfect peace and communion with God and one another was perpetually altered by the invasion of sin. No longer would it be possible to experience lasting happiness or complete satisfaction here and now.
But God had a recreating plan for forever. A plan to restore what was broken and to reinstate what was lost. A plan to reconcile us to Himself so we could be fully and competely satisfied for forever.
My grandmother knows this wholeness now. But the hole left by her parting has put forever on the forefront of my mind. Actually – providentially – the book our Small Group is currently reading is about forever. It’s Paul Tripp’s book Forever. It’s not just a book about the after-life, but about living here and now with a forever perspective.
“Most people think that living with eternity in view makes you a spiritual person, but living with forever in view is how God designed all human beings to live. Grace frees us from our bondage to the here and now and enables us to live in the freedom that only eternity can give. The forever life, which Jesus purchased by his life, death and resurrection, begins now.” (Paul Tripp)
This is good news for eternity and good news for now! This grants a grander view when all that is readily seen here seems to be sin, brokenness, trials, suffering and death. But with a forever view I can rest knowing this is not all there is nor how it will always be. It’s temporary with a promise of all things new!
This forever mind-set helps me persever, endure and to be content in all things with hope. Instead of my present happiness, comfort, ease or enjoyment ruling as an idol trying to secure heaven on earth, I can rest knowing this is not my true home.
Tripp puts it this way:
“…if present joy is all the joy I will ever have and someone takes it away from me, the impact is devastating…”
This is when we makes good things the ultimate thing. Things like a spouse loving perfectly, children behaving, performing and obeying perfectly, friends treating and caring about us perfectly, security in our finances, jobs that satisfy and provide, health that doesn’t fail us and on and on. But if these things become ultimate (idolatrous) then we will grow bitter, angry, frustrated, demanding, self-absorbed, discontent and on and on.
“But if I know that this is not all there is, that God is moving me toward my final destination, then I know that this moment of pain is temporary. Living in light of eternity doesn’t remove my pain, but it allows me to have hope in my moments of pain…The God of forever daily blesses me with his presence and his promises…the gift of forever means that I have been freed to approach life with joy.”
Joy inspite of whatever my circumstances, disappointments, fears and frustrations because of the hope I have in Christ, knowing only He can satisfy fully.
By His grace may I fix my eyes on Him and be okay with all that is unfixed, here and now. By His grace may I find my rest in Him even admist the unrest and chaos, here and now. By His grace in making a forever plan may I continuously be led to the cross to crush my “self-focused and shortsighted life” with a mind-set of eternity!