A few months ago someone said something about me that was untrue. I won’t elaborate. I’ll just say that it really stung; it kind of grated on me for a while. The thing that bothered me most was I didn’t understand why it was bothering me so much! As offenses go, it was rather minor. Even so, for some reason I couldn’t shrug it off.
I took my frustrated little funk to God and didn’t hear anything from Him concerning the matter for a few weeks. When He finally chimed in on my grumblings, He scolded me in a “teachable moment” kind of way.
He asked, “What does that have to do with eternity?”
I thought for about half a second and replied, “Nothing.”
And then I really started to think about it.
Far too often, I let the things of this life affect me. Whether it’s a real or perceived offense, the discomfort of a struggle or the loss of a want or hope, my response to adversity is everything. I would guess that about half the things my mind dwells on, plans for and worries about have nothing to do with eternity and everything to do with this life. James 4:14 (TLB) says, “How do you know what is going to happen tomorrow? For the length of your lives is as uncertain as the morning fog — now you see it; soon it is gone.”
This life is only a moment. I want to make sure I make a big deal of the moments that matter and dismiss those that don’t. I want to see life through the lens of eternity.
God is acutely aware of our pain and cares deeply about the troubles we deal with. It is for that very reason God sent us the Comforter; he knew we would need comforting. However, He sees things from an eternal perspective, which means He isn’t quite as concerned about my discomfort and offense as I am. He oftentimes points us to a bigger picture. Jesus said in John 16:33 (TLV), “These things I have spoken to you so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.”
I’m working on my perspective regarding this life versus eternity. How many times do I neglect to do something based on my own comfort level or bad attitude? I wonder, are my choices built on value or a selfish motive? Why do I fall into a funk over a personal injustice? And if I never reach a goal or achieve a dream, it may not be quite as apocalyptic as the voice of failure would have me believe.
And besides, what does any of that have to do with eternity?
Nothing. Nothing at all.
I want to live my life bigger than I am. I want my being to glorify God and to be talked about in heaven. I want my world to chronicle the valuable, the everlasting, the never dying or fading.
I’m not saying all of our focus needs to be solely on the ever-after, but so much of what we make a big deal of in our everyday lives isn’t lasting. Tomorrow, the present here-and-now will be long gone. I want to have the perspective that God has and see things as He does.
When my soul looks through the lens of eternity, the things that are everlasting stand in stark contrast to the fleeting. Different things matter. I recognize the worth of others instead of simply judging their actions. I can go toe-to-toe with repeated disappointments and come out unscathed. I store in my heart what is truly precious and toss out the dying and decaying.
And so, my friends, when we run across a situation that hurts our heart, in any way jacks with our emotions, or makes us squirm or cringe, we need to ask ourselves a question. What does this have to do with eternity? If the answer is nothing, maybe we can just move on from it and leave it behind.
And if you’re staring at something that has everything to do with eternity, well, run toward that. Whether it’s easy or hard, face that thing head-on, because the impact of that situation will be forever lasting.