Ecclesiastes 3:11 11 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.
With the unprecedented chaos going on in the world today because of COVID-19, our global community is being faced with the reality of how susceptible we are to death. Ecclesiastes 3:11 tells us we are created with a built-in desire to live forever. In other words, we resist the thought of death. It doesn’t make sense to us. We don’t want to cease to exist.
This global pandemic has got us thinking about how fragile life is and how quickly it can be taken away from us. As of today, March 21, 2020, Italy’s death toll from the coronavirus hit 4,825 and 793 occurred in one day. None of us were expecting to experience so much death so quickly from a virus. None of us started the month of March anticipating that our stock market and economy would dispel like a plume of smoke or that we would be ordered to stay in our homes.
When Ecclesiastes 3:11 says God “set” eternity in our hearts, I imagine he set a seed in our hearts that grows over time as we experience life on this earth.
Perhaps the suffering we face on this earth is the soil that nourishes the seed of eternity God placed in our hearts.
With each disappointment and loss, our hearts tell us that there is more to this life than what is being offered, and we long for our eternal home. With each tragedy the seed gradually becomes a beautiful flower.
And there is plenty of suffering on this earth. Sometimes it feels unbearable. It confuses us. We resist it.
I can’t imagine facing this pandemic without the assurance that Jesus already knew these things would happen and that he has a plan for us. Jesus says in John 6:33:
I have told you these things, so that you can have peace because of me. In this world you will have trouble. But be encouraged! I have won the battle over the world.
In John 17:11-12 Jesus said this prayer before he went to the cross to be crucified for our sins:
I will not remain in the world any longer. But they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them safe by the power of your name. It is the name you gave me. Keep them safe so that they can be one, just as you and I are one. While I was with them, I guarded them. I kept them safe through the name you gave me.
For those of us who believe that Jesus has truly won the battle over the world, the spiritual battle that is, we look to Jesus to lead us out of this chaos. In John 17:24, Jesus prays that we can be with him in heaven.
Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am. I want them to see my glory, the glory you have given me. You gave it to me because you loved me before the world was created.
Do you long to be with Jesus as much as he longs to be with you? Are you allowing the troubles of this world to water the seed of eternity in your heart? Or is this seed remaining small, underdeveloped because you are not turning to God in your suffering?
The prayer of David in Psalm 39:4-13, demonstrates a heart that longs for eternity. The seed in David’s heart has become a beautiful, flower. We know that we are watering the seed of eternity in our hearts when we start praying these kinds of prayers.
“Show me, Lord, my life’s end
and the number of my days;
let me know how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my days a mere handbreadth;
the span of my years is as nothing before you.
Everyone is but a breath,
even those who seem secure.[b]
6 “Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom;
in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth
without knowing whose it will finally be.
7 “But now, Lord, what do I look for?
My hope is in you.
8 Save me from all my transgressions;
do not make me the scorn of fools.
9 I was silent; I would not open my mouth,
for you are the one who has done this.
10 Remove your scourge from me;
I am overcome by the blow of your hand.
11 When you rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin,
you consume their wealth like a moth—
surely everyone is but a breath.
12 “Hear my prayer, Lord,
listen to my cry for help;
do not be deaf to my weeping.
I dwell with you as a foreigner,
a stranger, as all my ancestors were.
13 Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again
before I depart and am no more.”
These verses have strengthened my resolve to allow my suffering and the suffering in the world to continue to fan the flame of desire in my heart to spend eternity with God. I look to Jesus to lead me out of this chaos. I want to feel comfortable with how uncomfortable it is to live in this world because it isn’t my permanent home. To “take heart” as Jesus says because he has overcome the world!!!
Are you allowing the seed of eternity planted in your heart by God to grow into a beautiful flower?