Sunday, October 23, 2011

Perspective and eternity

I was lying on my back gazing up at the stars the other night. It was a brisk evening, but I was warm in my hooded sweatshirt and fleece sweatpants and able to just lie there, look up at all those stars, contemplate life, all that good stuff. As I continued to lie there, I began playing around with my vision, trying to focus in order to see more stars, as many as I possibly could. What I quickly found myself realizing was that as soon as I tried to focus more on any one specific star or gathering of stars, and especially as I tried hard to stare at the sky and see all the stars, I could not see that many. When I stopped trying so hard, didn't focus on any one particular star, and simply let the view of the thousands of stars appear, they did.

Of course this is a metaphor in addition to a real experience; what else did you expect of me, Reader, especially after seeing all my previous posts? ;)

Sometimes we do get caught up in all the little things. Our focus shifts onto the worries of our lives, the in-the-moment type stuff, and it makes it hard to see the big picture and especially to live the kind of life Jesus calls us to. I probably posted this verse before, but here it is again... John 16:33 = "'I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.'" Because Jesus sacrificed His perfect self on the cross (essentially bearing a burden that we should have rightfully bore) so that we could be in a loving relationship with the Creator of the universe, we have the knowledge that He knows the sort of things we go through daily. He was God in the form of a human, taking the form specifically so that He would be able to relate to us! In addition, His sacrifice allows us to have this relationship not only here on Earth but on into eternity.

What is eternity? It's foreverness. It's existence completely outside of time itself. And you get to choose how you want to live it: With God, or without God (Heaven or Hell; that's all those two places are when you get down to it). Everything on this Earth will cease to be of importance in eternity, especially when it all passes away. Keeping a perspective on eternity, the long-run, we can see how interesting it is that humans such as myself get caught up in the everyday, oftentimes meaningless, worrisome little things. For example, I've caught myself becoming anxious regarding drama in my relationships with people, my reputation, my job, my savings, my homework...the list goes on and on!

What it's crucial to remember, however, is that while all of these things definitely have importance and significance in my life, they are all quite insignificant when compared with eternity. These things will all pass away eventually. Right here, right now, they are indeed worth something, but only for the moments that they occur in. God is eternal, and He desires for us to have peace in our hearts regarding life. Peace does not mean easiness, nor does it mean a lack of difficult times. What it means, rather, is an ease of worry.

By keeping our eyes turned towards Him, we can be reminded that there is so much more to life than all this little stuff. I fully believe and trust that one day I will be able to spend eternity with God, and that's something that brings a smile to my face and overrides small anxieties. While we do need to carry on here on Earth and continue living our lives instead of letting them stagnate as we just kick back and admire our God, we can do so while walking with Jesus by our sides, knowing that He, indeed, has overcome the world already and will always be with us through the things we do go through.