We have eternity in our hearts
Eternity and Infinity. People often think these are two words for the same thing, but they are not. It seems like it though, doesn’t it? They’re both big.
People sometimes think that when they “get saved” that they inherit eternal life, but they think that means they will become infinite like God.
Probably the smartest man who wrote anything in the Bible once said, “He has made everything appropriate in its time.
“He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.”
God is infinite and people are finite. God does not simply have eternal life, life which has a staring point and then goes on forever.
God is not contained by the sequence of events we know to be time. God is not contained in this place or that place.
God is not stretched to every place at the same time, as if a piece of God were here and another over there.
God is fully present everywhere, because God is infinite, without spatial limit.
God is also infinite in terms of his attributes, what we might call his character traits. Thus, when we agree that God is love, that means God is without limit in His love.
Think of a prism and how a shaft of light strikes it from one side and emerges spread out in a spectrum of colours on the other side.
God’s infinite love is like that. It strikes the prism of human history and emerges in the lives of people in a multiplicity of ways on the other side.
The Apostle John asserted that God loved the world so much that He gave his unique, one of a kind son as a satisfaction, a payment in full, for the sins of all people who ever lived or will ever live.
People have likely heard that point in church at some time.
It’s easy to gloss over. It also seems like it’s about somebody else.
God so loved the “world …” Is that you? Is that me? I don’t feel like “the world”.
It doesn’t grab me like another place in the gospel of John where Jesus is talking to his disciples and he tells them that he’s not only saying what he’s saying about them, those who were hearing his voice in the upper room, but also about people who had never seen or hear him in person but who would believe in him based on what those who had seen him had to say about him.
I know that is me. I have believed in, trusted in Jesus based on the testimony of those who were with him. I feel very connected to that part of the Bible.
But there is another way in which the infinite love of God has struck the prism of my life.
I grew up in a dysfunctional family, and for years I was rather aloof from my parents, because I blamed them for my disappointments.
It was as if I were saying, “No wonder I’m like this; with parents like you who wouldn’t be?”
It went on that way for quite some time until circumstances found me out of a job and out of anywhere to live, responsible for a totally disabled brother, and feeling pretty bad about myself.
We had to move back in with our parents, and so I found myself feeling like a loser.
I remember calling out to God in my confusion and, while not doubting that He loved me, wondering why things had to be so dismal.
While living again with my parents and having them share in my troubles, having them help me in a new phase of my life, having them to talk with about what was going on, I developed a new relationship with them.
It proved to be a complete rapprochement and a new appreciation for one another. I felt like I had gotten my family back.
Then, my mother developed lung cancer, and she eventually died.
If I had not been brought to such a low point in having to move back in with them, I would not have experienced the reconciliation with my parents that I was given.
If I had not been able to put to rest the grievances of the past, I would still be carrying them around, still be struggling under their weight, and still be affected in my relationships to some extent by still trying to make things even in a sense with my parents.
In God’s love, he brought me low so that He could heal things and set me free from the disappointments of my dysfunctional childhood.
Of course, that is not all there was to that time of life. God, in His infinity, does not work down one linear line of cause and effect and then down another and then down another.
God does not work simply with one person at a time either. It’s all connected.
The complexity of the universe is a metaphor to depict the complexity of how God works in infinite ways in the lives of human beings.
I am a gestalt therapist. One of the core theoretical tenets of gestalt therapy is the unified field.
It is all things having effect. It is the overall situation in which one finds him or herself.
In this field I have come to believe that God is an active participant.
Even though God, in His infinity, transcends the world as we know it, He is present and active in the field of which we are all participants.
It is a pneumenal field (a field characterised by God’s Spirit).
Just as God’s Spirit hovered over creation as He was forming the things that are, God hovers over the lives of each person and works all things to the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
We have eternity in our hearts. We have the sense that life goes on and on and on.
God is not limited by eternity, and the quality of His person gives infinite possibilities for us when we are in relationship to God.
Jesus said that he came so that we might have eternal life, and He said that eternal life is knowing the one true God and Jesus Christ whom He has sent.
In that knowledge is where eternity and infinity come together.