We tend to be consumed with the present.
This day, this week. This summer. This semester. We worry about classes and busy schedules and whether we’ll survive the season placed in front of us. We obsess over the things we want but just can’t reach – a job, a driver’s license, a relationship, freedom.
We know better. We’re painfully aware of verses like Colossians 3:2.
Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.
But that’s hard to do right now – when the things above are yet invisible to mortal eyes, and the things that are on earth are so very clear and present.
The thing is, we forget. We forget that we’re part of a cosmic timeline; we forget to look up and ahead at what’s coming. We get caught up in this one moment, this single breath of the only atmosphere we’ve ever known – and we forget that history is so, so much bigger; that all the centuries since Adam and all the ones that are coming are only a speck against eternity.
We forget that history is a story. And every story has a beginning – and an end.
This moment is already ending. The breath I just inhaled has already left my lungs. The song coming in through my earbuds is fading away.
And so is everything else. The story of this earth begins with Adam; and it ends in Revelation, when this entire heaven and earth will have passed away. All things fade.
But they fade like stars in the morning – little lights waiting to be overcome by a greater. Because a sunrise is coming that will put every other dawn to shame.
What does it say there, in the first verse of Revelation 21?
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.
Yes, these things are passing away. We could mourn for them – I could be sad that one day the sun will never rise behind the trees across the pond from my window; that the flowers along my biking route will wither and never sprout again; that every page of every book I’ve ever read will turn to dust, and the violin music pulsing in my ears will die off into the silence of space.
And it is sad – that because of sin, all things wither and die and the creation groans under the curse (Romans 8:22) But mourning alone wouldn’t be true to the hope of what is coming.
He is making all things new. There will be no sun then – because His glory will be so much more beautiful. The heavens and earth and everything in them will be remade in perfection. The words we write and speak will be glorious – because we’ll be face to face with the God who is our ultimate joy, and we will see Him as He is, and we will speak of Him with tongues made free. And the music we make will be so much greater than anything we can even imagine – a chorus of praise rising to heaven, with all our voices perfect, fingers dancing faultless on keyboard or strings.
This is the dawn we’re waiting for. In the bleary mornings and the busy afternoons, this is where we turn our eyes.
This doesn’t mean the present doesn’t matter. It does matter – eternally. This moment has meaning because it’s part of a greater story. Why do I sit on my bed at 10:00 p.m. typing out words? Why do I subject myself to the torture of math testing? Why do I make sandwiches and wash dishes and clean tables? Why do I write papers and read about ancient civilizations? It’s because I serve the God who created me, who saved me, and who invites me to find joy in Him.
All these things – from the monotony of my job to the joy of writing – would be meaningless if this world were all there was. But it’s not all. As Christians, everything we do is in light of this living hope; in light of the assurance that one day all tears and death will be no more and we will look on the face of our Savior. We’re not just filling time until that future day; we’re to live as ambassadors of that eternal kingdom here on this earth, and to find our joy in God – not the things around us.
Let’s live this present moment with all we have, grounded in the hope of eternity.