This week’s story is from Brianna Warkentin. It is a collection of thoughts that came out of her prayer time several days ago. Thank you, Brianna, for being open and vulnerable in your sharing.
At the beginning of the year I do some praying and seeking as to a word that I should focus on and put into practice in my life. Sometimes it comes from the weariness of the year before, or from a conviction of something on which I need to work. Words of past years include rest and humility, and I have found it encouraging to look back at the end of the year and see how God worked in me and through experiences to teach me more on these subjects. This year I chose the word eternity. I desire to live in the knowledge that how we are living is temporal and so minuscule in light of eternity.
Psalm 84:10 states “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.” Do I really believe this? Do we as Christ-followers believe this? That my life here on earth that I am experiencing now, though flawed, is nothing compared to what eternity has in store for us. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I do believe this most days. When I pay attention to the violence that happens in our own city, and around the world. Or when an uncle dies suddenly leaving family and friends to grieve the loss. Or when someone you love is struggling with mental illness. Or when you are stuck at home because of a global pandemic. All of these things are great reminders that our life here is not perfect. Pain is a great reminder that what we get to enjoy in eternity, as believers in Jesus, is so much greater. What a sweet promise we have in Revelation 21:4, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
There are times though, where I do not see the pain. I put up barriers so that the pain that others are suffering will not interrupt what I am enjoying. Because to be honest, life is good. As they say, ignorance is bliss. We can block out all of the pain in our world and live quiet lives where we are surrounded with good things. The wealth that most of us have in Canada lets us lead very comfortable lives. We get to do what we want to do, when we want to do it. It is our right that we can travel whenever we want, gather with friends whenever we want, etc. In our minds we deserve all the good things. For the first time in a long time, most of us are experiencing that we do not get what we want, whenever we want. Our trips are canceled, weddings are postponed or the guest list is minimized substantially, and may we not forget those who go to every grocery store in town to find yeast and come out with empty hands.
The point of this diatribe is the question that I have been pondering recently. How do I live with my focus on eternity? As usual when I have questions that are big, I have more non examples than the “right” answer. For example, I don’t think that to live with my focus on eternity means that I should always be speculating when I think Jesus will come back. I do think that it means that I should pay less attention and concern to the material things of this world. And I do know that I should be more concerned about sharing the love and truth of Jesus with those around me. We are given clear instructions in 1 Peter 4:7-11 on how we should live our life on earth,
The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Maybe I do know more of the answer to my question than I think. Maybe my struggle to answer this question is that if I admit to myself that I know the answer, I will have to change my actions and lifestyle.