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. Ecclesiastes 3:11
When a life ends, you can’t help but wonder where it went and what it means. Is death the end all? Do we live for a moment and then go back to the nothingness that we were during the first half of eternity? Or, do we live on somehow? Do we exist in a real way in a real place forever?
Today was my grandmother’s funeral. During this time, I reflected on the time that we shared, but also the time that I never knew. She was a member of a family of 18 brothers and sisters. Each of them had their own life, and each of them shaped my grandmother into the woman that I knew. There was a time that she was young, living with all of her siblings, completely unaware that she would marry my grandfather and have a son and that that son would have a son named David. There was a time that she was my age now. There was a time that she felt as I did and as you do. She lived her life.
It’s hard to imagine life after death, but I think it’s even harder to imagine that a life as substantial, valuable, and meaningful as this one ceases to be just because we stop breathing. Does life come from air, or even from water? Does it come from our flesh, or even the complex systems that move and sustain us?
Are we an accident of too much time and space?
Our hearts are set on eternity, not just because we need to convince ourselves that death isn’t the inevitable blackness that awaits us all. Our hearts are set on eternity because it will take all of it to give the now, meaning.
We will laugh today and cry tomorrow, but what does it matter beyond our dull senses and imperfect memories if it ends in meaningless annihilation? To say that we die into nothing in one breath, and that my life matters right now in another, is incredible nonsense. Either it matters now and forever, or we lie to ourselves moment to moment and work real hard to convince our children that the lie is real.
So is eternity a lie, or is it truth?
What does your heart tell you?