A sweet friend recently finished reading the Old Testament on her journey through the Bible cover-to-cover. She jokingly drew out her words as she noted the many, many genealogies that listed the families in Israel throughout the OT. We both laughed at her feigned pain, but were genuinely excited. Reading the Bible as a whole is no small goal. It's a chance to watch God interact with every human generation that has and will live.
Can you imagine that one day we will be the names on the list? Someone else will butcher our twentieth and twenty-first century names like they come from a different language. (Get a feel for how strange your name will sound. Mispronounce your name and greet a friend with the wrong pronunciation while you're at it!) Maybe a few of us will have short-lived fame or have our names "immortalized" on paper, metal, rock, or in the light of a computer screen. Most of us will be remembered for a few generations after we die by those who love us. Our names carry memories, but only for a while.
It's discouraging to think of it like that. If you and I gain significance by what others think (ie. what we gain for ourselves at the expense of others), by what can be attained, or by what can be posted or tweeted, we lose sight of the significance of our moment. We lose sight of trusting God for who He is and what He is accomplishing in us. Life is a sacred moment within eternity. God has given it. God sustains it. And one day God will take it away through death.
After Isaac was born to Abraham--a father at the young age of 100--Abraham had trouble with water bullies. He worked a deal with the local king to secure rights to a well that would continue to sustain his family and livestock in a dry land. After the foreign king granted Abraham his rights, Abraham planted a tree and called on El Olam, the everlasting God (Genesis 21:22-34). He recognized God's quality of existing from eternity past and continuing into eternity future. This small victory showed God's help and His ability to keep His promise to Abraham: that land would one day be his. God doesn't skip rocks across the timeline of history. His everlasting nature is part of what encourages us, sustains us, and keeps us looking toward the fulfillment of His promises.
Psalm 90 by Moses is noted as the oldest of the Psalms. Moses was a man with the fear of speaking who God used to confront Pharaoh of Egypt. In trust he wrote:
Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were born or you gave birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.
You turn man back into dust and say, "Return, O children of men."
For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it passes by,
Or as a watch in the night. (vv.1-4)
Moses does not despair in the truth of "from dust to dust." His life was sovereignly appointed for a moment in God's everlasting lifetime. He is not so unique that he trusts God for something new. Instead, he trusts God for being the same as He has been for all people. He is the place of safety and rest to which man can look. Man gains something by looking to Him. And from an eternal perspective, He has always been and will always be God. He can be trusted as a secure and enduring help because that is what He has chosen to do for His gain, His glory.
My encouragement for you (and me) today is to consider how an everlasting God brings hope to the difficult moments, the challenges, the pain, and the unknown you face. God sees this moment and has chosen to be close. But He will not stop to dwell only in your pain or difficulty; He will continue on into eternity and lead you there.
(c) Kendra Higgins 2013.
Image courtesy of Roger Kirby / sxc.hu.