Saturday, January 9, 2010
The reality of eternity was brought home to me when a close friend of mine passed away recently. My faith teaches me that there is life after death and the choices we make during this life time does have an impact on what comes next. Though I do believe this, I don't think it has fully impacted my life.
My friend, who lived with an aggressive form of cancer for 18 months, came to a place of knowing that God would not heal him. And that he would die, leaving behind his wife and two small daughters. His sorrow was great, knowing that his girls would have to live on without him. But - and this is what really moved me and many others - he really seemed to look forward to Eternity, to being with his Father. Really. Until the end, peace and joy surrounded him. Really.
His memorial service was filled with stories of people being impacted by this hope that he had. Even his pastor admitted that he thought for a while our friend might be in denial and that the harsh reality of his situation would hit and then deep anger or depression would explode. But it never did. Our friend was at peace.
My friend had fully immersed himself in the fact that there was life after death and that as Jesus was going to be there, it could only be amazing. The bible (1Corinthians 13) explains how we only see in part now, as if we are seeing in a fog. You don't see a whole lot when you are walking in a fog. So if I look at Matt's life, I need to remember that I am only seeing things through a fog. I do not see him as God sees him. I do not yet see all of God's plans and purposes for his young life. I look forward to the day when the Sun melts away the fog and we all see Matt as God does.
It will blow our minds.
The bible also warns us not to hold onto the temporary things too tightly, but urges us to fight for that which has eternal value. This year I am asking God to show me where I am clinging to these - where I am wasting time and energy stressing about issues which may seem huge now but are of no eternal value. It reminds me a bit about camping. Because I know that a camping trip is short term, I don't stress about sleeping on a lumpy mattress, or not having running water, or the many other hosts of inconveniences. I can enjoy the important things of the experience - the nature, the friendships, the relaxation without it being undermined by stressing about temporary discomforts.
I am also asking God to show me that eternal things and moments in my life. That which I am to pursue. I have a suspicion that these are not massive, public moments that one might expect; rather they are the unseen moments of...
choosing love when I could easily use tiredness as an excuse for being abrupt;
choosing patience when I could easily succoumb to the hustle and bustle of life;
choosing gratitude when I feel I have every reason to complain;
or of choosing friendship and relationship over productivity and the need to get stuff done.
Many of my interactions with Matt are potential eternal moments.
We don't see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing Him directly just as he knows us! But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation:
Trust steadily in God
And the best of the three is love.
1 Corinthians 13: 9-13 The Message