***Let’s pray pretend, ok? You pretend today is Sunday and I’ll pretend I didn’t think yesterday was December 1st (my day-confusion is well documented) and spend the whole day waiting for an updated from the Mocha Club that wasn’t going to come until today at 1pm and not blog the Sunday Sessions so that I wouldn’t overload you, my wonderful readers…ok? So I am posting this and then I am going to post again at 1p with an updated I have been (obviously) excitedly waiting for…so come back, friends. At 1pm. Its a date.***
Have you ever lost a loved one? Its been 3 years this past summer since my grandma Clydella left this earth and (I think) 14 years since my grandpa Al died unexpectedly from a routine surgery. Thanksgiving is my mom’s family holiday. As many as can of the 8 kids and their families and their family’s families come together for a 2-3 day event of food and football. He’s been gone for at least half of my Thanksgivings and still I don’t think I would surprised if he jumped out from behind a couch and pulled out his false teeth. He’s been dead so long that really only Aaron and I remember him from experience and the rest of the kids remember from pictures, and yet somehow it seems surreal or even impossible that he’s gone. Its even stranger still with Grandma. She’d gather us all around and make each one of share what God had been doing in our life for the last year… we’d chuckle about sitting there for hours and how she insisted. And now even though she’s gone, I think we are all spend Thanksgiving evening half waiting to be gathered up by her.
When the Bible says eternity has been set in our hearts, that wasn’t just poetry. In fact the whole verse in Ecclesiastes says this,
He has made everything appropriate in its time He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.
Isn’t that just what Tozer rightly expressed as being “both the glory and misery of men”? And it is. We live with an insatiable inkling that we were made for more, that there is something beyond and yet everyday we are faced with the almost unbelievable plight of death and change. It is one of the many tensions of living the Christian life…one of the tensions caused by simply living in two worlds, the temporal and the eternal. We were made for the latter and yet dwell, for now, in the former. We find buried, even planted, deep within us that foreverness, but when we try to understand the work of our Forever God our minds fail us…we come face to face with our own finite reasoning.
As we have discussed before, has been crafted in the image of the Invisible God. Our experiences, chiefly sin, have marred us in ways that sometimes requires a little squinting to see it, but as surely as the Sun must still be burning this morning, His image is there, within us.
So directing and influencing is this image, that when we realize this craving for immortality or find ourselves in pursuit of forever or in disbelief with death, we should stop and ask where these are coming from. Are these human experiences born of Adam’s first death- a brush with our flesh? Or are these experiences rising up out of that which is God buried in each of us?
When I think of a teenager, driving recklessly, because he thinks he is above dying, I lean toward the flesh. But when I think again of my expectancy to see my Grandfather, now dead well over a decade, I find myself looking for the Eternal Substance in my heart.
It follows that if God is Eternal, and if we are His image bearers (no matter how imperfectly) we should find ourselves grappling with death and life as we often do. So the question is- is God Eternal?
Tozer answers this questions as though it were rhetorical, “The truth is that if the Bible did not teach that God possessed endless being in the ultimate meaning of that term, we would be compelled to infer it from His other attributes, and if the Holy Scriptures had no word for absolute everlastingness, it would be necessary for us to coin one to express the concept, for it is assumed, implied and generally taken for granted everywhere throughout the inspired Scriptures.”
I couldn’t agree with him more. Even think of what we’ve already concluded about God and how it all would be utterly nullified if God were be discovered as a Being locked in time as we are….
–Is God Incomprehensible? Wouldn’t we be able to get to know him FULLY (forget all of the “God is like…” in the Bible!) if He were a temporal being like ourselves? If He had a beginning and end, we could study Him exactly and create tools to measure His being, could we not?
-What of His Attributes? If He were a created person, like the rest of us, couldn’t we break down His love from His wrath and talk about them as separate entities? Wouldn’t we be able to nail down His temperament and describe His body?
-And the Trinity? Utterly explainable and definable if God had ever died… if His life had an end, we could dissect this-one-in-three existence until we had divided the Father from the Son and the Son from the Spirit in such a way that explained the bonds between…And yet, it remains a mystery, doesn’t it?
-But…. God is Uncreated? If God is Uncreated and everything else is Created, then it stands that time is also defined as Created…could God create something that would then bind Him? And if God isn’t a slave to time, then isn’t He eternal? Now that’s the kicker.
-And if God is Self-Sufficient and has a voluntary relationship with everything, doesn’t that also extend to time? We have a necessary relationship to time, because we exist within those boundaries; God cannot exist within those boundaries and still voluntarily bend to time…
C.S. Lewis gave a great example of how God can exist in the past, present, and future all at once. Draw a line on a piece of paper.. mark the beginning “past”, the middle “present” and the end “future”. We exist in time and so we travel along this linear experience from point A to B to C in only that one direction. For us, time is experienced only as one dimensional. God is not bound to our small experience of time. Because as we are outside of the line on the paper, we see that the line is one dimensional on the paper, but being that we are (at least 3 dimensional- physicists think we probably are 4 or 5) we are able to see the whole line at once. And so it is with God.
God is Uncreated and has no beginning. Time-words are lose all meaning when compared to His Eternal Being; they render themselves obsolete.
At the end of his life, the often reluctant servant, Moses, made these observations in a Psalm that we’d all do well to meditate on as we consider the small vapor that is our own lives in comparison with the Foreverness of God…
“Before the mountains were born
Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God…
For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it passes by,
Or as a watch in the night…
For all our days have declined in Your fury;
We have finished our years like a sigh.
As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years,
Or if due to strength, eighty years,
Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow;
For soon it is gone and we fly away…
So teach us to number our days,
That we may present to You a heart of wisdom…
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us;
And confirm for us the work of our hands;
Yes, confirm the work of our hands.”
May today God teach us to nurture the Forever He planted in us, while reminded us that our life is like a vapor… here and then gone… may we be mindful of Truth in such a way that it gives a new purpose and dependency to the lives we often count as our own.
This day our hearts approve with gladness what our reason can never fully comprehend, even Your Eternity, O Ancient of Days. Are You not from everlasting to everlasting, O Lord, my God, my Holy One?
We worship You, the Father Everlasting, whose years shall have no end; and Three, the love-begotten Son whose goings forth have been ever of old; we also acknowledge and adore You, Eternal Spirit, who before the foundation of the world did live and love in co-equal glory with the Father and Son.
Enlarge and purify the mansions of our souls that they may be fit habitations for Your Spirit, who does prefer before all temples the upright and pure heart. So let it be.