Eternity In Their Hearts
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He puts eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning.
In every age, culture, religion, and nation, people have an innate awareness that life transcends what they can see, taste, feel, and smell. All of them know a supernatural world exists, tough they may pursue it in different ways. People may try to define the supernatural world or categorize it into “steps” or “paths” or “gods” or “laws” but people’s meager attempts to put labels on God fall far short. Even we as Christians, who have the truth of the Scriptures to tell us about God, recognize that He is far greater than we can conceive.
Certainty and mystery- these two opposing facts of life give us a firm foundation but keep us amazed at the greatness and goodness of God. Creation shouts that God exists, and history declares that He became man and died for our sins two millennia ago. About these things, we can be certain. But in this life, we fine can’t see the hand of God working in individual lives-especially our own! His ways are mysterious and sometimes bewildering.
Great art often combines certainty and mystery to intrigue us. That’s part of what makes it beautiful. In the same way, God blends those traits in our lives and in our world to make “everything beautiful in its time.”
Live near God and all things will appear little to you in comparison with eternal realities.
The phrase in today’s scripture that captured my attention is: “He has put eternity in their hearts.” What a powerful statement! When we look closely at it, it gives hope to know that every human has eternity in their hearts, thereby creating a desire for more than this world or life. To be sure many have lost their way and have become so entangled in all this world has to offer, that eternity is a vague concept for some unknown and distant future.
In the very beginning of creation we read that God breathed life into that handful of clay He named Adam. In essence God imparted eternity to the clay. The eternal, ever-lasting God dispensed His eternal essence into that lump of clay and ever since that essence has longed to be reunited with the eternal. For a while that was the reality as the clay walked with the Creator everyday in the Garden. And then sin happened and the clay was separated from the Eternal, but the essence remained in the clay for it was life. No clay can live without the imparted life given by the Eternal.
The strategy of Satan is to convince us to sell eternity for a few moments of the temporary. For Adam and Eve, he convinced them to exchange their eternity for the knowledge of good and evil. I’ve often wondered why they thought it so important to gain such when they were experiencing and enjoying living in the beautiful, trouble-free, sin-free paradise. Jesus asked a powerful question one day: “What would a man give in exchange for his soul?” In other words, what value do we place on our souls?
We read of Esau who exchanged his birthright one day because his hunger dominated his life at the moment. His flawed reasoning told him that if he was going to die from hunger what good was some future blessing. And that, my friend is the warped logic that Satan uses against us. Why worry about some eternal destiny when we’re trying to just get through the week? Why not pursue things that give us pleasure now? After all we have plenty of time. So we go through life seeking completion and satisfaction only to realize at some point that nothing and no one can provide such things long term. We wander from thing to thing, relationships, careers, possessions, and experiences, and at the end we will conclude as Solomon who gave himself to everything available that it is all in vain. There is still that unmet need and desire.
What is that inner thing that remains unsatisfied? It the “eternity in our hearts” reaching for the eternal and until and unless they connect again, we will never feel completed.
If we can give an honest look at our lives, our hopes, and our dreams and do an assessment of how well they they actually fulfill our lives, I think most of us would have to confess that even when we attain them, they leave us unfulfilled. So we keep searching in vain for that one thing that will do the job. A country music artist penned these words, “Looking for love in all the wrong places” to describe the vain search in this world for lasting joy and peace.
Enter the Eternal who reaches out to us through Christ and the Holy Spirit to reconnect the eternity in our hearts once again with the presence of the Eternal. That what salvation is. Not some ritual, or new rules to live by but a connection between the God who breathed into us and the breath we received. And once again eternity in our hearts walks hand in hand with the Author of eternity. When that connection is made, we feel complete again for what was lost has been restored. Once we experience such fulfillment we can then enjoy what we have now because things are no longer needed to make us whole. We who have Christ have been made complete in Him and have no need to seek such from the world. This completion, while it doesn’t fully eliminate any temptation the devil devises to deceive and trap us it minimizes its power. When the eternity in our hearts reunites with the Eternal it creates a powerful deterrent against the enticements of the world and the devil to trade our soul and birthright for a bowl of beans.
I don’t pretend to fully understand God’s plan of redemption nor do I understand why someone such as I would be invited to become part of it. I can’t comprehend the love and grace of God toward sinners nor how a simple prayer of confession eradicates the sins and penalties. I don’t know why the Creator of the universe would choose to impart eternity and place it in a lump of clay and call it good. But I know that within me and you lies an eternity in our hearts longing to be reunited with the Eternal. I know that even after that has occurred in our hearts, it will not be fully satisfied until that day when we stand fully in the presence of the Eternal. So until that day we continue to reach toward, strain to grasp, and long to draw closer to eternity, eternity with God and Christ.
Dr. John Thompson