Worship You Forever
Forever. The reality of that concept is a little difficult for us to grasp. Yes, with our short attention spans, we have been in business meetings, classes, or waiting rooms that seemed like they lasted “forever.” This is especially true for us as children when time seemed to pass much more slowly than it does for us as we age. And there are times when we are suffering, or waiting for important news when it feels like the end will never come.
But when we try to think of something that is truly endless, like eternity, it can leave us wondering what it would be like to live in a never-ending situation. It’s much more comforting to try to grasp the reality of being endlessly in Heaven, with all the wonderful things promised us there. However, it is truly terrifying to think of eternity in Hell, with unending sorrow, regret, separation, and agony—without hope, and without God. While we want to push that “forever” out of our minds, we certainly should spend time thinking about it. Not only will pondering it cement our gratitude to the Lord for saving us from such horror, it will also quicken our intensity to pray for and witness to those who are heading heedlessly into that awful certainty at breakneck speed. Regular meditation on that “forever” is a sobering reminder that many people around us (including those we love) are one heartbeat away from endless hopelessness, and they need our prayers and our loving warnings.
Yet, for those of us who have been redeemed, there is a forever we also need to contemplate regularly. It is far too easy to get caught up in this world and forget that this in-our-face milieu is not even a blink in the grand scheme of things. While our time here is vital for our destination and our eternal rewards, when compared to what we will experience in “forever,” it is almost nothing.
What looms for us now—what seems terrifying or overwhelming—compared to the bliss of our forever with the Lord, suddenly loses some of its impact. There is no doubt that it feels intense in the moment (I am not in any way making light of the suffering, grief, and hardships of our lives), but keeping a forever-perspective is SO helpful in battling the discouragement of our earthly agonies.
The Apostle Paul was no stranger to suffering. In several of his writings he lists them—the beatings, stoning, whipping, chains, shipwrecks, imprisonments—these were serious sufferings. In fact, in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11 he talks about how the trials he went through at one point brought him to the place where he despaired of life, and was overwhelmed. Knowing that Paul could get to that point has often been helpful for me when I have been in the midst of overwhelming circumstances. Not only is it comforting to know someone that strong could despair, but having him as an example of how to deal with it has been helpful, as well.
It was his perspective that enabled him to bear even this heavy of a burden. First of all, he saw that the trial came so that he would not rely on himself, but on God. It reminds us that we are not just left to our own strength to meet our challenges. We have a Father and Lord who is “forever faithful, forever kind” to see us through, give us hope, and deliver us.
Second, Paul reminds us in another place that whatever it is we are facing, in the perspective of forever, is “light and momentary.” That can be hard to grasp when we are in the midst of agony, whether physical, spiritual, or mental. If you’ve ever endured long-term or intense suffering you know there are times when you feel like the pain will never end. In fact, it is quite common for the Christian to hear the enemy hiss into their ear, “What if this never ends? How can you endure this?” The temptation is to focus on the moment, and then project the agony of that moment into the future, unremittingly. It can be demoralizing, if not entirely undo us.
But what the Lord does is to invite us into His forever-perspective. It is not the pain that lasts forever. It is not the grief that lasts forever. It is not the loss that lasts forever. It is not the loneliness that lasts forever. It is not the persecution that lasts forever. Forever for us is full of eternal pleasures at His right hand. Forever we will dwell in His love and goodness. Forever we will see Him display more and more of His wisdom, His glory, and His power for us to worship. Forever, for us, is going to be wonderful beyond our wildest imaginations. Our minds cannot begin to conceive what the Lord has planned for us, His beloved children, but as we deepen in our knowledge and experience of Him, we will increase our anticipation of just how phenomenal will be our forever with Him.
This does take some retraining of our minds and spirits. It takes knowing what the Scriptures say about who He is, and what He has promised. It takes us applying those truths to our circumstances, particularly when we are suffering. It takes talking back to the devil when he tries to discourage us with his horrid pictures of a “forever” we know that God has declared untrue.
We will indeed worship Him forever, gloriously lost in wonder, love and praise for all His amazing greatness!