I love books and I love to read. Unfortunately, I do not make the time to read like I should. I continue to buy books, but then don’t read them. It’s a bit of a sickness, this continuous book-buying thing.
This year I’m determined to read more, and I’ve already surpassed the amount of books I read last year (yay!), which I believe was only three (boo!).
Yesterday I finished reading Forever by Paul David Tripp. It took me forever (pun absolutely intended!) to read it. I think I started it back in October. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the book, I just either got too busy or would read a bit and need some time to stop and think about it for a while.
This was a book I picked up at Mardel last fall in their bargain section. I’d never heard of it before, but it sounded like something I would enjoy. Turns out I was right. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I think it is an excellent read for any believer who feels like they have lost sight of eternity–which I think is all of us from time to time.
I’ve mentioned this book a couple of times in the past several months, so I don’t want to repeat myself, but here’s the gist. Tripp writes about how we are made with forever written on our hearts, but that we do not often live as though we are made for more than the here and now. He refers to it as “eternity amnesia.” We’ve forgotten that there is more than this life.
The thing that struck me most as I read through this book is how the reality of eternity touches every facet of our lives…marriage, parenting, friendships, work, our view of God, how we handle difficult situations, etc. When life gets hard and relationships are strained we often become discouraged, feeling hopeless and sometimes even abandoned by God. But if we are living with eternity at the forefront of our minds, we can know without a doubt that God has made us for something better. One day we will be in our forever home and the struggles and hardships will be no more. No more! If you are God’s child, you are never hopeless. You may feel hopeless, but it simply is not true. As God’s children we are never without hope.
If you are God’s child, you can have hope in the middle of all the tough things you face, not only because in all of those moments God is with you, but also because the cross of Jesus guarantees you that all that is broken will be made new forever. You can live today knowing that you have a future that is beyond the boundaries of your wildest imagination. If you are God’s child, you have hope because God is hope, and you have a hope that will last forever because he has defeated the one thing that stands between you and forever: death.
One of my favorite chapters was the one titled “Forever and Parenting.” We need to constantly remind ourselves that, as parents, we have a responsibility to teach and show our children who God is and lead them to the understanding that they are made for Him and for His glory. “Children will again and again insert themselves in the center of their world and make it all about them” (pg. 142). We need to show them that life is not about them. It is about God and they belong to Him. We need to help them understand their part in God’s plot.
The bottom-line question is this: how many of us parent with eternity in view? Do we view and respond to our children with the radical thought that these little ones are forever beings inescapably marching toward a destiny of some kind? Are we committed to the fact that as parents we cannot live for the moment? We must always have the long view of life in our sights. After all, we have mysteries of the universe to unfold to our children that will alter everything they think about themselves and the world they live in–and one of the most important mysteries is the existence of eternity. How many of us are willing to make personal, career, and familial sacrifices because we grasp the eternal significance of the task that God has called us to?
I do not always parent with eternity in view. Sometimes it’s so difficult to look past the moment. But it is imperative that we approach our children with forever in mind. “These little ones are forever beings inescapably marching toward a destiny of some kind.” My truest desire for them is that they march toward Christ, keeping their eyes on Him and eternity in view. They must know that there is more than this life.
But first? I must make sure that my eyes are kept on Christ and that I always have eternity in view. I can not show them what I do not see myself.
Some days I’m too focused on the here and now. Other days my spirit is shouting, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!” Often though, that’s because my eternal perspective has been clouded and I suddenly realize this is not where I belong. I don’t want to live a life that is full of ups and downs in regards to my foreverness (is that even a word?), but I want my life to be so focused on the hope I have of eternity with Christ that my life is overflowing with joy and overwhelmed by the grace that God has given me through Him. I want to have “the long view of life” in my sight.
Let’s not have eternity amnesia. Let us always remember that something better lies ahead for those of us who have trusted Christ. This life on earth is just a preparation for the real life that was always meant to be ours.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:3-7 (ESV)