Sunday, May 2, 2021

What Is Eternity?

I've been thinking a lot more about eternity lately. I'm 75 and dealing with debilitating pain due to advanced degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, and osteoarthritis. It causes me to be even more aware of my mortality.

While sorting through some files, I came across a poem I wrote for children years ago, "What Is Eternity?"


"What is eternity?" you asked me one day.

I thought it over, then I knew what to say.

Picture the sandy beach where you love to play;

Picture a little bird alighting one day;

Into his beak he takes a wee grain of sand;

Off he then flies to a way faraway land;

One long year later he returns from his trip;

Down he then swoops to take another wee bit;

Year after year bird makes one run after run;

When all the sand is gone, eternity's just begun!

                                                              --AnnaLee Conti

Growing up in a missionary family in Alaska, I became aware of my Creator at a very young age. In church, we often sang a chorus written by Alfred B. Smith, "With Eternity's Values in View." 

And a plaque on my grandparents' wall made a solemn  impression on me: 

Only one life, 'twill soon be past;

Only what's done for Christ will last.

As I grew up, the question that always guided my decisions in my life was "Will it count for eternity?"

Ecclesiastes 3:1, 2, tells us 

To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: 

a time to be born, and a time to die.

The Bible also makes it clear that God knows the number of our days. Not one of us knows the hour of our death. Some die young of illness or in accidents or war, but I read recently that old age begins at 80 now! Psalm 90:10, 12 (NKJV) says, 

"The days of our lives are seventy years; 

And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, 

Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow, 

For it is soon cut off, and we  fly away...

So teach us to number our days, 

That we may gain a heart of wisdom."

It is not macabre to think about death and eternity. God says it is wise! 

As I look back over my life, another song by Dean Bernstrom comes to my mind: "I Wonder Have I Done My Best for Jesus?" It continues, "... when He has done so much for me." When I see Jesus face to face, I want Him to be able to say to me, "Well done, good and faithful servant....Enter into the joy of your Lord" (Matthew 25:21).