Eternity is on my mind quite a bit lately. This isn’t a morbid fascination with gloomy things, far from it.
It is good to consider what we are becoming and where we will be in a hundred years. Dallas Willard died last Wednesday, well, at least that is how we talk of it. I don’t imagine for one moment that is how he is seeing it. He is discovering more fully what his heart already knew in part.
He has gone home, and must feel like he has been let out of school early.
There is no anti-aging cream, exercise regime, diet, or medication which will keep us from our inevitable transfer.
In days gone by it was considered a thing of wisdom to think daily about heaven, Richard Baxter wrote a substantial book on it, and so has Randy Alcorn, his book called, funnily enough, Heaven, is well worth reading and if ever you have had the least bit of anxiety about what life will be like then, you should find his book comforting and encouraging. Truly, our eternal state will be so much more than we can think or imagine.
These are some thoughts I’ve read over the years which have stuck with me enough to get written down in my journal.
“We are becoming who we will be …forever.”
Dallas Willard, Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering our hidden life in God.
“God is constantly looking for people who will worship him in spirit and in truth. What does that mean? It means people who have free and wholehearted respect for and commitment to God. People who never try to conceal anything from him, and always rely completely on him. God is seeking such people, whoever they may turn out to be… Nothing is hidden from God, so those who worship him MUST worship him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24)
Dallas Willard, Renovation of the Heart.
And something more personal from the daughter of Martyn Lloyd-Jones,
“….And to finish, I would like to read you a passage out of this little book, The Force of Truth. I think it really expresses the kind of way that we all saw my father at the very end. It is written by the Reverend John Scott, who wrote about Thomas Scott, and this is what he said:
In the concluding years of his life he was, at it appeared to me, obviously ripening for heaven. He had fought a good fight, he had finished his course. He had kept the faith. So that at the last his genuine humility before God, his joy in Christ Jesus, his holy zeal for the diffusion of the gospel, his tender affection to his family and all around him, his resignation to the will of the Heavenly Father, and his exclusive trust in the merits and grace of his Saviour, seemed to leave little more to be done but for the stroke of death to bring him to his grave in full age, like as a shock of corn comes in its sheaf.”
Elizabeth Catherwood writing of her father in ‘Martyn Lloyd-Jones. The man and his books’
What a way to finish your life, ‘ripening for heaven’.
“In other words, if our eyes could be opened for just a minute to the eternal dimension in the present, it would change our view of death and of our life. Many more people have died and now live than those who are presently on earth.
My favorite passage in what has become my favorite Narnia Chronicle is at the end of The Last Battle. In the chapter “Farewell to Shadowlands,” the children are afraid of again being sent back from Narnia to England. Aslan assures them that this time they will not have to go. A “wild hope” arises in them. Aslan tells them that their transition from a train to Narnia in the beginning of the book was because there was a real railway accident. Aslan tells them in the final paragraphs:
“Your father and mother and all of you are—as you used to call it in the Shadowlands—dead.
The term is over; the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: This is the morning….”
The things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And as for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
What a glorious vision. An infinitely creative God creating infinite, wonderful adventures for all eternity.”
C.S. Lewis on Life and Immortality by Art Lindsley, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow, C.S. Lewis Institute
Get yourself a cup of tea, curl up in a comfy chair and read these few pages of delicious writing, enjoy!