This morning God spoke to me about eternity.
He took me back to high school and had me remember how it felt like the end all be all.
The social dynamics, the cliques, who is doing what with who, the current scandal, the exams, overwhelming projects, the fears, and even the excitement- it felt huge and as if it mattered more than anything.
I remember how badly I wanted a small blue opaque Motorola pager. I felt like if I just had it, my life would be complete. I did end up getting it. It was fun but in no way life changing. So many things in high school were like that.
And then one day, you graduate. Years and years pass and now, looking back, the interactions, the fears, and desires, they seem almost silly. A test that seemed so huge it could have brought me to my knees in tears, stress, and worry now is like a vaporous thought.
He then showed me two people, in a heavenly future or location I couldn't place.
One said to the other, "Do you remember Earth?" with a small smile.
The other person answered, "Yeah," with a distant look as if trying to see something so long ago.
I couldn't see exactly what they were doing, but it was clear they had a new mission, new jobs they enjoyed doing and I got the sense that the time on Earth they were briefly reflecting on was so far away they could barely get a sense of it, like a childhood memory but even further removed. The sting of being a human, the striving, even the faith and sacrifice- such things were obsolete, so far thrown they were almost imaginings.
He had me think about the question, "If you knew now what you know, how would high school have been different?"
Well, I would have thought more about what I wanted to achieved. Focused more. Not been as caught up in truly useless drama or fears or wondering what anyone thought of me as I know now none of that had any bearing on my life. I would have really taken the time and opportunity to do what needed to be done and well. Hard things wouldn't have affected me as much because I would have understood how temporary it all was.
Then He showed me what looked like a land, suspended in the air and one piece of it underneath break off and away from it. I understood that He was saying this place was never designed for eternity. It will pass away. It already is.
He doesn't expect us to be stoic and unaffected by life's ups and downs. He knows we have feelings. Jesus wept, after all.
But when one's eye are firmly fixed on eternal things: God, His mission for your life- the rollercoaster loses access to the deepest parts of your heart.
And even if it were to breach certain gates, there is a river of peace when one's eyes are stayed on the Prince of Peace. One can walk away from earthly happenings and sit by it at any time, listening to the waters fall over smooth rocks. One can lay down in green pastures and allow the Shepherd to restore your soul. His voice is soft but it cuts through it all and I've laid in the tall grass, I've heard Him sing.
He reminded me of a song I heard as a child, "I've got peace like a river in my soul." That doesn't come from positive affirmations, control, having it all together, money, relationships, or any kind of earthly status but from taking the hand of Jesus and lifting one's eyes to His.
You know how when there is turbulence on a plane, many look at the flight attendants? If they are calm, we know we can be, too. It's like that.
I know for me, when I did not know God I turned to all sorts of things to anethestize my mind, heart, and soul. But the thing about anesthesia, whether it is a person, substance, or past time, is that it's not a long term solution.
You'll always need more. And it'll always come at a cost.
As I drove this morning, He impressed so firmly on my heart His desire for people, the souls He created and breathed life into, to know there is an alternative to numbing oneself to survive this life or placing one's hopes in place and time not built for eternity.
There are so many reasons people don't choose Jesus but none of them have to do with who He is. Experiences with people, organizations, family, ideas about God that are false, but none of these have anything to do with Him and His heart.
God once told just because a person is false does not mean their words are. Even a bad waiter can serve good food.
The most important question I ever asked was when I asked God to reveal to me who Jesus was.
I'm grateful I was never comfortable enough in this life to live it without Him. I'm grateful the anesthesias didn't take me and the distractions didn't run out the clock.
One day, people in places without cigarette butts on sidewalks will be asking the one beside them if they remember Earth.
Like high school, this place feels so big, important. The dramas are loud and the tests, quite challenging. And while we are here for a reason and have work to do, it's only for a time.