An Eternal Perspective
" . . . our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us." Romans 8:18
There's an old Methodist church near my house with a sign outside that says, "Established 1812, Made New Each Day." That little statement speaks to me every time I pass by. I cannot help but wonder about the founding members of that little chapel, and what their surrounding landscape must have looked like--all farmland with houses few and far between. In 1812, the largest earthquake ever recorded in the continental United States occurred in Missouri, felt for 50,000 miles. In 1812, just a day's horse ride down the road, the president of the United States signed a declaration of war against Great Britain. The republic was expanding westward, and there were wars with Native American nations. In 1812, this little church formed by dedicated followers of John Wesley went up on the side of a hill overlooking a water-powered mill and started having services.
These brothers and sisters are long gone, and yet we are connected, as connected as we are to the believers of Martin Luther's day, of those who lived in the the Middle Ages, and back to the first Christians who met surreptitiously in each other's homes, considered atheists because they didn't worship all the gods of the culture, perceived as peculiar. Why should it be any different for us? We are, as one writer put it, the People of the Book, a long and powerful thread of men and women who belong to eternity. Current events will become past events, houses will be built and then torn down, institutions will rise and fall. We don't have to know the whole story about anything, because the God of the Universe who sits outside of time as we understand it has all stories safely in hand. We don't have to have the answer to everything. It isn't ours to know every plan. We can rest as we go, because we are made new each day in the things that really matter by the One Who Really Matters.
With that in mind, I offer this beautiful poem, quite a famous one, actually, called "God Knows." The opening lines are inscribed at the entrance to the George VI Memorial Chapel at Windsor Castle in England, because King George VI quoted the lines in a 1939 Christmas radio broadcast to the citizens of Great Britain on the brink of war. But the entire poem, written by a remarkable, now-forgotten woman named Minnie Louise Haskins, is yet another reminder that there is so much more than . . . this.
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night. And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.
So heart be still:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.
God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.
Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill.
Our impatient eyes await the day when the glory that lives inside of us will be fully revealed. In the meantime, be renewed, good friends. Eternity lives here.
Reading for a rainy day
Most unusual and compelling novel I have ever read: Laurus by Eugene Vodolozkin, about the making of a 15th-century Russian holy man (for modern sensibilities: homeless crazy person, but not so crazy). I was absorbed into a mind and a world where only timeless things mattered and earthly things were passing away. Not for everyone. Maybe for you.
Get the Book
Do you know anyone who is struggling to forgive a family member? Someone who has to deal with never-ending drama in the family? Is it you?
Get them this book. It will help them frame the situation, and maybe help them begin to forgive.
Still speaking after all these years
Always, happily, delightedly available to speak to your group, retreat, church meeting, women's organization. I work with every budget. Anything is possible.
Check out the website for possible speaking topics, and know that I am really good on the fly, too.