Mat 25:21 His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.'
I have been thinking of late about what eternity will be like. Of course, we are told so little that such thoughts can be a somewhat frustrating pursuit. One of the ways that I think it can be described is the absence of frustration which is a big consequence of the Fall. There are a couple of ways we can see this.
One is contentment. While we are commanded to be content in this world we know also that to a degree that is impossible. Much like we are told be perfect yet it is more of a pursuit than a full reality. Hopefully as we grow in grace we are becoming more content with what God has given us in this life but with sin all around us and within us perfect contentment eludes us like trying to find the end of a rainbow. Paul had no doubt learned to be content with such things as he had but with his remaining sin and with the struggle to help the saints grow in the Lord and with the pain and sickness that he had to deal with and the loss of loved ones to death and so on, it is just not possible to be perfectly content in this world.
In eternity, though, this will not be the case. Every need will be met and I suppose that speaking of needs will no longer be necessary. We won’t have needs that need to be met. Existence will be continuous fulfillment; I like to use the word bliss, continuous bliss. In Heaven we can finally say with accuracy, “I just can’t be happier than I am right now!” We will be in the presence of God who is the source of all life, joy and blessing and there just will never be a moment in which we will want something that we aren’t experiencing. It is mind boggling to say the least. We don’t know very much about eternity and what we will be doing and experiencing but we know that we can never get bored or tired gazing upon the Lord of Glory.
The other thing I think of when I think of eternity, and it is connected with the contentment, is anticipation. It seems to me that one of the fundamental experiences and joys of life is anticipation. In one sense that is what keeps us going on from day to day; anticipating plans, dreams, goals, experiences and the like. There is always a reason to get up in the morning, a day of work to look forward to, a relationship to enjoy, something to accomplish. If we stop and think about it, it seems that it plays a part in just about anything we are involved with.
But as with contentment, anticipation in this life seldom lives up to the hype. How many times has the anticipation of something turned out to be a better experience than the thing we looked forward to? Temporal things just can’t satisfy us in any meaningful way. The days leading up to Christmas morning or your birthday party often are more fun than when it is all over and we are off to anticipating the next “thing”. Even our relationships with godly loved ones fall short of what we thought they would be to varying degrees (just ask my wife!). The reason is obvious everything on this side of eternity is tainted with sin and maybe better said it is soaked with sin through and through.
Now the question I wonder about is whether there will be anticipation in eternity. My first thought was of course there won’t be because if we are anticipating something then it means that we don’t have everything we want and couldn’t be happy or content. But then I wondered if perhaps we were made that way by God as part of the human experience. So while anticipation is often frustrated by unrealized goals, yet is looking forward to the next wonderful thing a good thing that in itself if part of being a joyful human being?
In other words could eternity be one continuous experience of anticipating all that God has for us and at the same time experiencing them to utter joy and amazement and being completely satisfied? Could it be everything we reach for in this life only without the disappointments? Is fully realized anticipation the epitome of the human experience and that which only God can give us?
The reason I wonder if this is perhaps at least part of it all is because I am the world’s worst for moving from one hobby, experience, food to another always looking for the next thing. (Well, I might not be the world’s worse but I am right up there) I remember telling my children many times that variety is the spice of life. I think we are all wired like this to different degrees and so I wonder if we will spend eternity all giddy with excitement over all the things that the Lord is revealing to us of his glory? Is it possible to be content without something to anticipate?
Well, I guess it is all musings and speculations until then but if anyone has something else to throw into the mix please feel free to make a comment; even if it is to show me why I am completely off base! I am not one to speculate about the abstract too often but I guess it is a good exercise from time to time and perhaps better left to minds other than mine.