The eternal journey
"All mankind is of one author and
is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but
translated into a better language... God employs several translators; some
pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice;
but God's hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our
scattered leaves again for that library where every book shall lie open to one
another." - John Donne
Surely our innate sense of eternity, and our ability to
even grasp the subject, or our capacity to dream and see a vision of what things
could be, must distinguish us among creation. I wonder if my dog dreams of
immortality or my cat ponders a heaven to be gained and a hell to be shunned?
And yet radical post-modernists would decry such a distinction as human pride
similar to those who once held the view that the sun revolved around the earth.
Taken just from a physical standpoint, which is often the only realm
post-modernists subscribe to, they would be right - physically we are not much
different from the rest of this earth's creatures. But, there is one
striking difference - we have an eternal journal!
Surely it is easy to lose sight of our spiritual
immortality when we are continually assaulted by the excesses of materialism.
John Derbyshire, not too subtly but accurately, describes our condition,
"Look at us! Look at the gross vulgar overflowing fat wealth we live
amongst! Look at the great cars that 20-year-old kids drive 400 yards to the
mall, to buy things they don't need, gadgets to pack into houses already
overflowing with gadgets, clothes to cram into closets stuffed with clothes.
Look at the work we do, sitting in humming cubicles scrolling through screens
full of numbers, numbers that measure our wealth. Look at the bright, airy
schools our kids attend, to be taught that their ancestors were moral criminals,
their parents are liars, their culture is a sham. Look at our 'reality TV'
programs, where people with empty heads wallow in infantile hedonism. Look at
our fool diplomats, poring over their treaties and resolutions and communiqués,
while young men with burning eyes slip silently into our cities with boxes,
canisters, cargoes, vials, and suitcases curiously heavy. Look at this proud
tower! And feel its foundations tremble." These words truly hit home and
convict us of our own excesses, hinting perhaps at the real reason why such
hate, fueled by envy and hunger, is directed at America.
A book hidden from view
Surely the suicide (spelt h.o.m.i.c.i.d.e.) bomber who
thinks he is killing himself and spilling innocent blood in the service of
Allah, on the promise of an immediate promotion to a sin-forgiving heaven with
seventy virgins at his disposal, is 'translated' not by God's hand but his own,
and therefore places himself in a book hidden from view! Perhaps his 'hell' will
be an eternal obscurity, just the opposite of our natural desire to be accepted
and loved in this life, and ultimately, come into a greater relationship with
the family of heaven in the next where 'every book shall lie open to one
Surely God's desire is to gather all humanity to Himself.
His hand will 'bind up all our scattered leaves again,' bringing a great
harvest into His heart. He has set up an eternal journal for everyone who obeys
His voice. It will contain a story without end. This hope lifts us
up out of the mundane and into the unpredictable wonders of eternity. This is
why, even though we were all born here, we won't end up here. But, heaven can
wait a little longer!