A VIEW THAT IS ETERNAL
We are finite beings – no surprise there. Simply put we are bound by time and space. We may not think about it all that much but time calls the shots. We are held accountable to routines, to schedules, to calendars and essentially to our waking hours. Even further, we tend to describe ourselves in terms of time. For example: 65 years old (not me, of course, but some older person); married 40 years, been working at the same place for 35 years and, oh yeah, there is still a week left on my vacation time. See what I mean?
As a result, we tend to see things through eyes of duration or longevity. When will it ever be here – or be over? How long will it last? Can I keep up with it? In-time, overtime, before time, when its time, its about time… I’ve got more if you want. These things aren’t bad but they are very real for us finite creatures.
On the other hand, the God we call Heavenly Father is infinite. Which, well, has really nothing to do with time or space. He is not constrained by time; has no need of it and is not defined by it in any manner. Therefore, he does not age or mature and we are told in the Scriptures that he never changes. He is called the Alpha and Omega but since those are “time terms” (beginning and end) he is better described as being Alpha and Omega, at once. You may need to dwell on that one for a while.
As if that is not enough to ponder, we know that God (infinite one) became flesh (finite one) and dwelt among us. We’re talking about Jesus, here, who accomplished the impossible by being fully human and fully divine at the same time. He chose to be constrained even though he didn’t have to. And he did it for our sake. This little interruption in the space-time continuum (sorry I couldn’t help myself) brought about what we enjoy today and that is a relationship with our Heavenly Father. And here lies the crux of the matter – how does that happen? How can we relate with the Infinite? How does knowledge of the infinite help us in our finite world? What does the future hold in terms of for-now and for-ever? If you think an understanding of this is not critical, consider these references in Scripture. God uniquely knew, loved, formed and called us before we came into existence. He reminds us that our citizenship is in heaven and that we are in this time-constrained world but it is not truly our home. Our posture in this world, while we do the work of Him who sent us, is to eagerly await our Savior from heaven. And we can be certain that Jesus has gone on ahead of us to prepare a place for us in a realm that knows no time and no end. Is your head spinning yet?
Another consideration as we look for answers is to recall the times where there was an intrusion, if you will, by the divine. Moses had his burning bush experience as well as his opportunity to “see” God in a walk-by. Isaiah, the prophet got an invitation to the throne room of God as did fellow prophet, Micaiah. Elisha was granted a view into that which is eternal when he was allowed to see Elijah’s dramatic departure in a chariot. Speaking of chariots, he later got to encourage his servant by seeing the hills filled with the horses and chariots of heaven. The very lowly shepherds got a front row seat to an angelic choir. Soon to be apostles, Peter, James and John had a mind-blowing experience on the mountain when their Lord took on his eternal countenance and was joined by Moses and Elijah. And John, oh my! He got the impossible task of describing what he saw when God pulled back the curtain for him on Patmos. I’m sure there were many more intrusions we could recall, including those even today. But why? Why these glimpses of eternity, and of the infinite, as we mark our time here on this earth?
I have no idea! (ha, ha). But maybe it has to do with walking through life here in this broken world. We know we aren’t in exile here but on assignment. We know we are here to mimic the Son and give glory to the Father as we share their love with others. Being salt and light in a world that stands in opposition to that which we hold dear, however, is a daunting task. Being made aware of our own frailties and failures adds to the burden. So, as we view this world in its present state, we need our lens to be wide enough to capture the glimpses God graciously gives us of the eternity designed not just for our future but our present as well.