Tan: A glimpse at eternity with a quiet heart

Rev. Arnel Tan

Ecclesiates 3:11-21

The way Solomon looks at the issue of eternity is a mixture of two realities, the material or the practical reality and the spiritual reality. Honestly, we need to look at eternity through the same lens of the material and spiritual... but this time, we look at it with a quiet heart longing to see an agenda larger than our own. If seeing or looking at eternity sounds like a long shot, well, let us be contented for a while with just a glimpse instead of a long look. It can all start with a glimpse... and then God's Spirit stirs our hearts for a longer focus and a holy reflection from a quiet heart.

What do we expect when we take a glimpse of eternity from a quiet heart? I think we gain Godly Perspective and then we expect God to disturb us so we can redefine our existence on the platform of a Godly Purpose and by that we mean with God-first, God-Centered priorities. The higher the ladder of reflection goes, there is only one legitimate resolution... humbly admitting the reality of our powerlessness which will lead us to journey this long road, not by our human effort but by the pure GRACE of God... thus we expect the glimpse at eternity will lead us to a lifestyle of grace... a life of devotion and dependence upon God.

Fasten your seat belt... this does not paint a picture of a slow and quiet journey. I think it is better to say, get ready with your hot cup of Davao coffee and let us enjoy the journey of a glimpse at Eternity with A Quiet Heart. Take the glimpse of eternity from three angles:

* A View of it under the sun ( the material point of view)
* A view of it above the sun ( the spiritual point of view)
* A view of it beyond the sun, (the eternal point of view)

Here we go:

1. With a quiet heart, see eternity not only as an endless span of time. View it as an invitation to know God.

From verse 11-18, God is mentioned 7 times. This indicates an invitation for reflection... meaning, the reality of eternity is not just about a span of time that never ends... rather, it is a divine gesture revealing God's desire to have fellowship with man for eternity! Every day while life lasts, God's invitation is lavishly given. The mystery of eternity lies not in what many call destiny, rather, the mystery of death and destiny are confronted when a decision is made to trust God by faith in Jesus Christ.

The question of whether eternity exists or not is posed for everyone to make up their minds and form their own convictions... if eternity is not true, even those who believe in it have nothing to lose but if eternity is true, then those who do not believe in it lose everything.

With a Quiet Heart, sum up eternity not only as a mere existence measured by infinity... see it as a chance of grace to have an endless relationship with God. Listening to many evangelicals who boldly say that they are sure about going to heaven makes me want to be a skeptic for a while. Believe me, I understand the meaning of being assured of heaven. Remember, I am a Southern Baptist... we believe in the eternal salvation of a true believer. I do not doubt the destiny; I am questioning the desire regarding why we want to be in heaven. The scary answer is I do not want to go to hell. Others say there are mansions and the streets are paved with gold in heaven, no more tears and no more pain in heaven. What is frustrating is that very few are excited to see and spend eternity with the Savior who died so sinners can be with Him. Even in heaven, eternity is viewed from the point-of-view of the material... as Solomon said... all is vanity under the sun. Eternity is not just going to a place... it is meeting a Person!

This glimpse of eternity from a quiet heart has become holy chaos to me. Remember, we said that if we want deliverance from God, we need to be ready for His disturbance. After God's disturbance, comes peace... now things are clearer. What is crystal clear to me is that the excitement to go to heaven without longing for God here on earth is bogus! Eternity must be viewed from a quiet heart, please remember that for a heart to be quiet, God must disturb... only then does it become a venue where God whispers his secrets. Even in the midst of unbelievable corruption, in the house of justice or in the house of God, the voice of grace is heard... grace to repent and grace to receive the gift of eternal by faith in Christ. Grace abounds because God forgives; grace is lavishly given because God redeems; grace is absolutely needed because God will hold us accountable for our sins. Grace is so deep to explain because it gives us the freedom to say yes or no to God. When you think of eternity, do not only talk about whether you want to be buried or cremated, ask and do not rest until you know the answer... where and with whom you will spend eternity!

With a Quiet Heart here are some of the realizations I have silently pondered upon. Eternity is not about knowing all the details... rather, it is a long journey of love, faith and obedience to God. We cannot know all the details... we cannot handle all the details. We can only choose between two options... to despair or to humbly depend upon God who holds time and eternity in His hand. Before I put down my pen, I hope and pray that God has disturbed you today to the point of your taking the time to go through Holy chaos... it is necessary to quiet our hearts. A glimpse at eternity with a quiet heart makes me realize that eternity is not meant to be understood and calculated, it is to be valued as a chance of grace God gives you and me today to know Him. When life ends, that chance to repent is eternally revoked. Be disturbed and be blessed, this is the pathway for a quiet heart. Thanks for reading, I write with a disturbed and a quiet heart.