From Here to Eternity

Yesterday we began a new sermon series entitled “From Here to Eternity.” We'll be looking at how keeping a forever-perspective changes the way we make decisions in the here and now. Jesus tells us that we are to live in the moment without worrying about tomorrow (Matt 6:34), but that only works if we are laying up forever ourselves treasure in heaven (Matt 6:20). We live fully in the NOW with an eye on FOREVER. This is how God created us to live— God has “set eternity in the human heart” (Eccl 3:11). We were not created for only the here and now; we were made for eternity.

We ended the sermon looking at the example of Nick Vujicic. The first thing you might notice about Nick is his infectious smile or maybe his sense of humor; the second thing that you notice is that Nick has no arms and legs. He was born with Tetra-Amelia syndrome, a very rare genetic disorder that causes badies to be born without extremities. Nick has been able to rise above his condition through his faith in God’s forever. His autobiography is entitled Life Without Limits: Inspiration for a Ridiculously Good Life. We watched a slightly edited version of this video:

If all there is to life is what there is under the sun, then life is a meaningless vanity of vanities for everyone, especially for someone like Nick Vujicic. What keeps Nick positive and upbeat about his “ridiculouslygood life” is that God has set eternity in his heart. He knows that this life is not all there is, and this forever forever changes how he chooses to live in the here and now. And eternity should change how you live our life in your daily grind as well.

I ran across a question and answer column today that illustrates this point in a way that many will find hard to hear. The question was about divorce—

My wife and I are at an impasse. There's been no abandonment, no sexual immorality, and no abuse. We just don't get along. We shouldn't have married. We should have known we are incompatible. I know God hates divorce but I don't have any other option. My pastor and some Christian counselors have told me that while God hates divorce, this is the lesser of two evils because God doesn't want me to be miserable. What do you think?

I'm going to include below a slightly edited for space version of the answer given by Dr. Russell D. Moore, and  I'll give the URL to the whole article at the end. What strikes me here is that Moore answers this based on the contrast between the forever and the here and now. I really think we all need to decide if we really believe in eternity and if we are going to live like we believe it. The “eternity in our heart” really does change everything.

Divorce isn't about you, and it's not just about your marriage. Divorce is the repudiation of a covenant. It doesn't start anything over again. It instead defaces the icon God has embedded in the creation of the union between Christ and his church (Eph. 5:22-31). 

Does God want you to be miserable? Long-term, no. And that's why God has designed marriage as a life-long covenant signaling the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the long-term, God wants you to be deliriously happy. But by long-term, I mean the next trillion years, and beyond. In the short-term, one often must bear difficulty and, yes, even misery. Remaining faithful to a wife you wish you hadn't married might seem miserable to you, but taking up a cross and following Jesus is "miserable," in the short-run. That's why the Book of Hebrews presents the life of faith in terms of not receiving what was promised (Heb. 11:39), but seeing it and embracing it from afar. 

If you take the nuclear option of divorce off the table, you might find that you and your wife have more reason to seek help with your problems and make this work. But even if your marriage never becomes what you thought it might be, it is worth it to stand by your words and maintain fidelity to the wife of your youth. What God has joined together, let no man separate (Mk. 10:9).