It seems like our world is in constant crisis. It lurches from one violent attack to the next, from environmental catastrophes and changes to conflict with the economic market. The world in which we live is a very uncertain one, and this uncertainty can cause us great anxiety and even fear. In the midst of all this we need something solid that we can rely on. As Christians we have simply this: faith and trust in God. As the psalm today states; “I keep the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.” (Psalm 16.8)
It is perspective that can carry us through and give us strength in the midst of anxiety and fear. I catch myself pondering life sometimes, gazing at pictures of my grandparents who have now passed on, and think about what a difference their absence makes in my experience of life. In reflecting on this I would also think about my own life, and how it will eventually be the same for me, with my children and grandchildren. I don’t know how long I will have but there will come a time when I will only be a memory or a picture of the past for them. And so this will be for all of us. As painful as this perspective is, that the world is passing, I believe that it is an important and healing perspective to have for two important reasons:
- It shows how valuable our time here on earth is, “From the fig tree learn its lesson; as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near.”(Mark 13.28-29) Jesus urges his disciples, as he also urges us, to remain watchful and ready for when he comes, so that we will know. To do this we need to focus on things that are certain and eternal, not on the uncertain and the passing. How comforting is this, that we only need to focus on that which we can effect; focusing on our spiritual life, on teaching our children/grandchildren the truths of God, instead of focusing so much on the cares of the world which we really don’t have control over. It’s about where our priorities are and what gives us focus.
- It gives us freedom from this world. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”(Mark 13.31) When we see the truth that all heaven and earth are passing we have freedom in Christ’s promise. It is the only assurance that we have, and yet it is really all that we need. We are assured that things are in God’s hands, that the Word of God will remain forever, indeed not even the powers of death shall prevail against it (Matt. 16.18).
In light of this we should be hopeful. If we live every day with our life in perspective of eternity, hat this world is passing, the end is glorious; it is fulfillment and triumph. God made us for salvation, not damnation, so we should be hopeful rather than fearful.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away;” we need to look at life from His perspective for then we will see our lives in light of eternity, we will see what is truly important for our salvation and the salvation of the world around us.
Readings for reflection: