Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
with the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.
This prayer, written by the 16th century English Sea Captain Sir Francis Drake reminds us that there is a future beyond earth life. Something we call eternity.
Eternity is difficult to define. We talk about spending eternity somewhere. But you can’t spend it. You can spend a dollar. But not eternity. It is unending. A teacher once said to a little boy, “What does eternity mean to you?” He replied, “It’s like a piece of peppermint candy with only one end!”
Many in our day scoff at the idea of eternity. Sean Carroll, a cosmologist and physics professor at the California Institute of Technology, claims to have proven scientifically there is no life after death. He’s not alone in his denial of eternal life. Atheists, agnostics, infidels, humanists, and secularists all belittle belief in the eternal.
However, not even all scientists agree on this. Wernher Von Braun, the famous German-born aerospace engineer, and space architect, once said, “Everything science has taught me–and continues to teach me–strengths my belief in the continuity of our spiritual existence after death.”
But a greater authority than all these, Jesus Christ, affirmed the existence of eternity. Concluding his discussion of judging the nations, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats, he said: “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Jesus often spoke of “eternal life.” The apostle Paul wrote that “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Furthermore, the Bible speak of God’s “eternal purpose,” (Eph 3:11), our “eternal salvation” (Heb 5:9), and an “eternal inheritance” (Heb 9:15).
The Bible also reveals that there is an eternal judgment which can result in “suffering the vengeance of eternal fire” (Jude 7).
There is a heaven. And a hell. These are the only two places where the soul will reside in eternity.
We sing about that “Home of the Soul,” and the beauty, bliss, and splendor of that land “Where we’ll never grow old.” It’s a serene and soothing thought.
Yet, there is also a place of torment. Punishment. Anguish. And Pain. It’s called Hell. Jesus also affirmed its existence. But we don’t like to think about it. There are no songs about hell. Its no one favorite sermon topic. But it’s a reality. If heaven is eternal, so is hell.
Christians claim to believe in eternity. In heaven. And in hell. But too often we fail to live like it. When we live reckless, irresponsible and worldly lives, we’re not thinking about eternity. We’re not focused on heaven. And we’re not following Jesus.
Take a few minutes today to contemplate eternity. Reflect on your life. Think about heaven and hell.
Then consider the exhortation of my friend Dee Bowman, “If you miss heaven, you’ve just missed all there is!”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman