A page in the book of eternity
We live at a time and age when human life has been deemed short. Death is perceived to be final and more real than ever before. In a world spinning fast in motion, sobriety in the name of COVID-19 has checked in and tempered the so called ‘rat race’. We have heard or lived by slogans such as, ‘you-only-live-once’ or ‘life-is-short’, which somehow fuel the race. However, at this time, these phrases would seem to hold a literal meaning and provoke deeper thoughts of ‘what really, is (my) life all about? For some, the moderation of life by a virus is a blessing in disguise while for others it is utterly devastating and unbearable.
Whichever way it has played out for you, the ‘COVID season’ has brought the realization of just how presumptuous many of us have been. The joy and freedom of being out in the sun, mingling with other people, shaking hands, going to work or school and even church, seem a distant memory. We look back with nostalgia at the ‘normal’ days when the term ‘corona’ had little significance. There is an appreciation that, indeed it is the ordinary stuff that make life beautiful.
Faced by an unseen threat to our lives and livelihoods, the instinct to survive has kicked in and is propelling people towards self-preservation. Along with the instinct and engraved in our DNA, is a yearning for immortality that subconsciously brews within each individual. God created man in His image, an eternal being, and the soul’s longing testifies this truth. As Abraham Lincoln put it, “surely God would not have created such a being as man, with ability to grasp the infinite, to exist only for a day! No, no. Man was made for immortality”
According to the Cambridge English dictionary, “immortality is the quality of being able to live forever.” Immortality, if not mere longevity, could be one of man’s greatest pursuits; a cherished ideal, but in the face of death, an unattainable goal. In deed to some people, the harsh reality of death appears to crash the hope of living forever, while for others, it is a bridge to a better place. Nevertheless, a bridge they do not want to cross anytime soon. Ultimately, regardless of which way your mind is inclined, all of us want to live. Live long. Live forever.
But forever is a long long time! and our limited human minds can only take in so much. It doesn’t help that today’s pressing realities of life have a way of impelling our minds to dwell only on the present and immediate foreseeable future. Many of us are struggling against the compulsion to focus on survival and nothing beyond food on the table, a roof over the head and breath in our lungs (quite literally). Succumbing to this pressure is human, yet it distracts us from reaching for hope. Hope of a future that we cannot see but can expect-beyond COVID-19 and in deed after death itself. This hope is real and alive in the person of Jesus Christ who guarantees life for all eternity, to all who believe in him.
Eternity, is a time stretching beyond what our finite minds can contain; bearing in the past, the present and a future that will never end. I recall one of my pastors saying that, it’s like having a yarn that you roll and spin around the globe millions of times over and over and it just never ends! That is how long ‘eternity’ is! It is one of those astounding truths that should surely point us to a Creator, who must then be the author of it all. This then, leads me to conclude that the present space in time is but a page in a ‘book’ called Eternity, authored by an eternal God.
Like pages in a book, each season of life passes and the next page is flipped open. The page that is passed and flipped over, is not lost because it still forms part of the book. The pages ahead and their content may not be known to us, but the Author knows each one of them and holds them as part of the book. The present times constitute the page in which we find ourselves. This specific time and circumstances form part of our story for the present age and have a bearing on a future that is yet to come. A book doesn’t write itself, it has its author, creator, master planner and orchestrator of every detail. The author, of this ‘life’ book, I believe, is God.
the ‘what’, by science, the ‘how’ by philosophy, and even attempt to predict the ‘when’, but He alone is above all things and in him and all things to hold together (Colossians 1:17). God is good and all his ways are good (Psalm 100:5, 18:30). He is trustworthy (Psalm 62:8, Isaiah 26:4). He has not fallen asleep, (Psalm121:4), has not grown weary and forever remains sovereign even in this season.
Circumstances may seem outside of our control, distress and chaos may appear to define our lives, but the truth is that God remains in charge. The evil that came upon the world through man’s rebellion at the garden of Eden, continues to wreak havoc for all creation; but it has no power to change or thwart God’s plan to redeem man. No amount of evil can overcome the good plans that God has for his people. God the Son, Jesus Christ, through death on a cross & glorious resurrection, provided a way for sinful man to be saved from eternal wrath and gain eternal life. In this life, God has provided us with a choice to decide where we shall spend our time, for eternity. Choosing Jesus guarantees eternal life.
As we grapple with what this season means to each one of us, may we be stirred to re-evaluate our individual lives’ preoccupations, values, goals, plans and their relevance in the face of eternity. I guess it calls for a shift in gears of our mindsets in preparation of the ‘post-covid-19’ season. When the page turns, may we not seek after what this side of eternity has to offer, rather what the other side holds for us.
“if we really think that home is elsewhere and that life is ‘wandering to find home’, why should we not look forward to the arrival?”- C.S Lewis
“after all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it” – 1 Timothy 6:7