An Eternal Perspective
By: Ellie Falahee
As I write this blog post, I am sitting on a bench overlooking the mountainous valley of Southwest Mexico at a school for deaf children. This past week I had the opportunity to serve the community here with a ministry group from my college: helping to construct a medical clinic, providing food, and developing relationships with those in the area. As always, escaping the frigid Michigan winter and making love my aim instead of midterms has been incredible and rejuvenating. However, surrounded by such poverty, I cannot help but feel a little bit somber. Whether it’s Alec, a little boy abandoned on the side of the road by his drug-addicted mother, Raul, a fourteen-year-old who has lived in four different orphanages, or the children for whom starvation is a bigger reality than family dinner, this trip has been a striking reminder of the prevalence of suffering in our broken world.
In the face of such suffering, it’s difficult for me to acknowledge the work of God. Why would an all-loving Father permit His children to hurt so deeply? Even in my own life, stress about school or worry about the future can seem debilitating and overwhelming and far from within God’s control. It is difficult to endure the pain of suffering while trusting in God’s provision.
But, we must remember that suffering is not of God. The verse that keeps coming back to me as I reflect on this is 1 Corinthians 15:7 – “If for this life only we hope in Christ, we are the most pitiable people of all.” Essentially, Paul is reminding us that our world is broken and that people are hurting but that it is not about this life.
Of course, this is not to say that suffering is illegitimate or that our earthly lives will magically be perfect if we just focus on Heaven. But, there is something to be said about maintaining an eternal perspective. If we only focus on this life, despair is imminent because the world is fallen and death would have no rival. But God became man and died on the cross so that He could conquer death, allowing us to place our hope in a vibrant, life-giving, eternal faith. He promises us that no matter how difficult the world may be, this is not the end. We were created for more!
As Lent begins and we reflect on the immensity of this gift God gave us, I encourage you to look for ways to extend your perspective to the infinite instead of focusing on the finite. God cannot be confined to our human time frame. The story does not end with our suffering here or Christ’s death on the Cross. Rather, our lives are temporary vessels preparing us for the eternal banquet that awaits us in Heaven. That is the whole story – abiding on earth through both joy and pain until we are welcomed Home by our Heavenly Father who has been holding us in His arms the whole time.
Ellie is a nineteen year old freshman at the University of Michigan who loves to learn, to explore, and to hear other peoples' stories. She feels most alive when serving others or spending time in the great outdoors. (Bonus points for doing both at the same time!) Her favorite things include mountains, ginger tea, good books, and authentic laughter. And, she really hates cheese.