Eternal God; September 1, 2019

Psalm 100:5 For the Lord is good and his love endures for ever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

We don’t worship a flash in the pan! In a world where the rate of change has gone up to the point that it has triggered a sharp increase in mental illness, it make a huge difference to know the One who is the very definition of permanence. After all, even this planet we live on is going to be destroyed someday. The Bible has many reminders like this one, because even though people back then didn’t have to deal with the rate of change that we do, things still changed constantly. It is interesting that the more we have to deal with the reality that we ourselves are impermanent, the less tolerance we have for external change. A viral political moment recently was when a 92-year-old woman told a presidential candidate, “Don’t mess with my health care!” That’s why it can be very difficult to persuade older people to move into facilities where they can get the care they need. It’s not that their current situation is ideal, it’s that it’s familiar, and change is both scary and fundamentally distasteful. The thing is, we have to deal with both growth and entropy, whether we like it or not. Growth is quite literally part of the definition of life itself; to the day we die, we are growing new cells and sloughing off or absorbing old ones. And then there’s entropy, the scientific principle that everything runs down in the direction of chaos. Aging is actually one of the many demonstrations of that, but the very fact that the universe exists is proof that there is One who is greater than entropy, and He is who we have the incredible privilege of worshiping and getting to know. He is outside of time, since time is defined by matter, and He created matter in the first place. Accordingly, it stands to reason that “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” (2 Peter 3:8) The good news is, as this verse states, that God is good. If He weren’t, we’d be totally up the creek! However, as this says so clearly, He is not only totally reliable, He is totally worth relying on. The apostle John called Him light (1 John 1:5) and love. (1 John 4:8) He is the rock, (a very common Old Testament metaphor for Him) the stability, that we crave.

The older I get, the more aware I am of this issue. As a much younger person I was always up for something new. I still enjoy new things, but the familiar is very comfortable, and new things can be somewhat scary, which is a strange thing for me to realize. The good thing for me is that I indeed know the One who is eternal, and I find my rest and my stability in Him. (2 Timothy 1:12) I don’t have to fear new stuff, because my eternity is already determined. Right now I’m facing hernia surgery in a few days. I know that’s not so serious, but it will be my first experience of general anesthesia since I had my tonsils out at age 4, which I don’t remember. My wife has had multiple operations, including brain surgery, and anesthesia has never been a problem for her, but it’s new for me. This will give me a new point of contact and empathy with her! A more important point is that the church needs to change and grow, and I must not fear that change either. There’s a song that I translated from the Japanese that has the line, “Even though the earth may be shaken, mountains may be cast into the sea, I’ll not fear, because I put my trust in Thee.” That is true, whether the mountains are literal or figurative.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Help Cathy and me both continue to grow in faith, trust, and obedience in the days ahead. May we both accept whatever changes You have for us with peace and joy, knowing that You never change, and we need to. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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