Made for Forever
“This isn’t how my life was meant to be.”
Her voice broke on those last words as she brushed away a tear with the sleeve of her dressing gown.
“I’m 34, I’m not married, I have no kids, I can’t even decorate this stupid lounge properly.” Our eyes both flicker to the framed painting in the corner which had only moments before fallen from its precariously placed hook.
“I just can’t do anything right.”
It’s been a few weeks since that vulnerable moment was shared in our snug little lounge, but its impact hasn’t left me - the hurt and disappointment still echoes around my mind.
This wasn’t the first time a heart has been saturated with hopelessness, and it most definitely won’t be the last. It doesn’t matter who you are, at some point you will find yourself peering around your life and asking, is this really it?
We look at the lives of others and feel jealousy eating its way through us, fuelled by comparison. We battle with this resentful hollowing when the things we think we need aren’t delivered on our schedule.
Because we have forgotten about forever.
We all have an inherent tendency to want to transform our current situation into the dream we believe it should be. We are told to live in the moment and to expect it will deliver. Obligingly, we cram all of our hopes and ambitions, our sense of contentment and any concept of a ‘meaningful life’ into each of these moments, forgetting what God says about forever.
Unsurprisingly, disappointment reigns.
But here is what that mentality fails to comprehend - this is not all there is. When we demand from today what can only be delivered by eternity, we will be left feeling hurt, forgotten, bitter and hopeless.
“Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise.
The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country, or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings which no marriage, no travel, no learning, can really satisfy.
I am not now speaking of what would be ordinarily called unsuccessful marriages, or holidays, or learned careers. I am speaking of the best possible ones. There was something we grasped at, in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in the reality. I think everyone knows what I mean. Something has evaded us.” C. S. Lewis.
If our quest for satisfaction and ultimate completion is rooted in the hope that the people and situations of this world will deliver, we are signing up to a miserable existence.
If we live our lives as if now is all that we have and that our current situation is the manifestation of all that can possibly be achieved, struggle will be our constant companion.
Living this way will throw everything into uncertainty at the smallest bump in the road. We will stop seeing God as loving and kind, and we will constantly battle to see anything other than happiness as the measure of our success.
Living as if ‘now’ is the destination will mean that we will never be content. Because we weren’t created to live for ‘now’ - we were made for forever.
'Now' isn’t the destination.
It is just a moment on a journey through which God is preparing us for that final destination. Too often we lose sight of God’s grace because we are too busy searching for His deliverance from present difficulties, or loading our expectations of what He needs to do for us into every situation we encounter, instead of just trusting Him.
In forgetting what He says about forever, we are resigning ourselves to an idolisation of work, relationships and opportunities. We ask them to be all that is, and all that can be. Our faith is no longer in Him and His promises, but in our ability to get what we think we need.
It’s tempting to try to turn today into a paradise. Of course it is.
But however consuming our present frustrations and disappointments appear to be, don’t forget about forever. Don’t forget that He is constantly preparing us for the place which we will one day call our forever home. A place free from troubles, a place free from frustration, a place of satisfaction and ultimate completion and a place which your present situation is bringing you one step closer to.