“He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, without the possibility that mankind will find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NASB)
“For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.” Hebrews 13:14 (NLT)
This won’t surprise anyone who knows me but I’m not really happy with growing old. I’ve spent far too much time on the “patient” side of the bed over the past few years, almost all due to infirmities of “maturity.” Last week I had another fall, the fifth one in the past year. I have a peripheral neuropathy since my knee replacements that affects my sense of proprioception – I can’t sense where my feet are in space. Fortunately, despite bumps and bruises and abrasions – oh, and a dislocated pinky! – the thing that was injured the most was my pride.
As I’ve pondered this, I think I’ve come up with the reason for these changes as we age. As the writer of Hebrews said, “this world is not our permanent home.” We have been given this earthly body that degenerates with the years as a reminder that this body was not meant for eternity. That our eternal home will come with an eternal body that does not deteriorate. The reason is to remind us. As for me, I think I might be OK with a reminder, but not one that is quite so painful!
A very sad part of our secular, relativistic culture is that too many believe that all there is, is now. That when we die, it’s all over. This may be wishful thinking on their part, but it’s a miserable conclusion. C. S Lewis said it well when he noted, “It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this. Aim at heaven and you will get earth ‘thrown in’; aim at earth and you will get neither.” Only when we understand the promise of our eternal home can we begin to appreciate the love of Christ.
Indeed, He has set eternity in our hearts, and He desires for us to share in the love of His works and His creation. For all of eternity.