When I was a kid, I used to have near panic attacks thinking about eternity. I remember sobbing on the couch freaking out trying to understand what it meant to live forever. I understood a definite beginning part in heaven, but my mind couldn’t figure what it meant to keep going on and on. Would I get bored? How would I know what to do next? At eight years old, a year already seemed like an eternity. What did an eternity of years mean? At some point growing up, I stopped thinking about it. I don’t think I ever really came up with an answer I just found a way to avoid the question to avoid the fear. What is eternity?
Solomon jives with this query:
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.
I think this is his personal dig at the frustrating situation (the whole book is kind of a systematic demolition of anything “good”). I think what he’s saying is, “I know and you know there has to be more beyond this life. But doesn’t it stink that we’ll never have full answers to our questions?” We our stuck in a temporal sneak-preview of what’s to come–which is at the same time terrifying and fascinating for me.
Here’s how I try to keep myself from getting stuck in a total rut: while I can’t find out what God has done from beginning to end, I can trust the eternity He has placed in my heart. I can listen to that quiet roar in my chest aching for home whenever I see injustice. I can muscle through disappointment when I remember that what ever I set my hope in wasn’t the end all be all. I can set out to be the most perfect worshipper of the most Mysterious and Soul Satisfying Savior this side of eternity knowing that I my practice will pay off.
It’s unfortunate that my frontal lobe didn’t get the hardware to calculate the infinite, but still I await the day when every question in my soul will be put to rest. A friend of mine once told me that since we are finite but eternal (definite beginning point but no end) but Jesus is infinite and eternal, all we will do in heaven is learn and receive and grow more in a knowledge of Him. For ever. We know in part, one day we shall know in full as we are fully known. I await the day.