Have you ever been in a moment that seemed to be endless?
A first kiss, sitting in the Operating Room waiting area, the month before Christmas, a painful reprimanding by your mom, being in labor with your first child, church administrative meetings….lots of things feel endless.
Of course the end eventually comes and in hindsight, you realize that it wasn’t as bad as you thought in the moment. Well, except for church administrative meetings.
Our sense of time and our perception of its passing are easily skewed by our expectations. If you expected a meeting to be over in half an hour, then by the third hour you are sure you’ve been there for days. The month before Christmas is exactly four weeks, no matter how ready you aren’t or excited you are. A first kiss is probably more fleeting than you realized….but when your Mama is yelling at you, well, that does go on for an eternity.
When working with people who have lost a loved one, the subject of time and our perception of its passing are often a part of the discussion. In the grand scope of things, this earthy existence is but a blink of an eye. One blink, and there is your 89.5 average years of earthly existence. By contrast, the scope of eternity is, well, endless:
Revelation 21 New International Version (NIV)
A New Heaven and a New Earth
21 Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.
3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.
4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.
Can you even imagine? All the pettiness, grief, hardship, heartache, and even all the pleasures of earthly life will pass in the blink of an eye, and we will dwell with God forever. And in our new Jerusalem, there will be no more pain, no more crying, and even no more death.
This is the perspective of time which we would do well to remember. So often we focus on the seeming endlessness of everyday life, when actually every day is minuscule compared to what is to come. So the aggravations of this world end up not amounting to much in the end. Yet in the moment, they certainly can overwhelm everything.
So next time you are stuck in a place or situation that you long to flee, remember the new Jerusalem. This moment, this thing, this burden will quickly pass, but God’s eternity is endless. His love endures forever, world without end. Amen.
Endless Summer by Michele Robertson.