November 17 I Wednesday
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”
There are many people who have a misguided understanding of eternity. They think eternity is limited to time and is just another word for “forever,” as if time goes on and on and on without end. But eternity is about so much more than that. It is multi-dimensional and includes time, but time without beginning or end. Eternity also includes space and meaning. In fact, it includes everything taken to its ultimate end, if it has one.
The reason Solomon expresses so much frustration throughout Ecclesiastes is because he has tried to fill that sense of eternity in his heart with finite, materialistic and ultimately inadequate substitutes. This eternity is like a vacuum that sucks in anything that looks like it might offer satisfaction but ultimately cannot. Where Solomon finds only meaninglessness in this unfulfilled longing of eternity, C. S. Lewis offers an alternative perspective in his book, Mere Christianity. He writes, “Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists….If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
Lewis’s solution to Solomon’s problem is not that there is no way to satisfy the longing for eternity, but rather, there must exist something beyond our world that does satisfy this desire. That sense of eternity God has placed in our hearts is what makes us wonder and long for something far greater than the here and now. It makes us question where we come from and what our purpose is. It forces young and old alike to consider that there must be something bigger than ourselves that governs the universe. This desire in our hearts for the eternal is one of the primary ways God reveals to us our need for Him.
Nothing can possibly satisfy the eternity placed in our hearts except God Himself. God alone is eternal, and it is only by being in relationship with the God who is not limited to space and time, the God who has no limit to His goodness or love, that we can possibly find satisfaction in this life. In addition, we must remember our experience of eternity is not simply limited to time. The vital aspect that makes eternal life so valuable and so necessary is that it is an ongoing relationship with Jesus Christ. It is a forever of getting to know the infinite God more deeply, and experiencing meaningful life as it was meant to be lived, with Christ as Lord, living in us and through us.
Prayer: Eternal Father, You alone know all, and only You can bring me true satisfaction in this life. Thank You for this sense of eternity in my heart, a constant reminder that You are all I need.