Last Friday afternoon was quite the ordeal for me. Scrubbing lunch dishes as delicately as I could, my right index finger, throbbing with inscrutable pain, continually collided with the side of the crockpot. I screamed out in pain at least three times. The innocent hangnail I picked five days earlier had become infected. Badly! The culmination of the dish scrubbing was highlighted by me dropping a small glass to-go container, shattering it to smithereens. (I wonder if there are still a few shards at the bottom of the garbage disposal.) My wife sentenced me to the doctor, and I gladly obliged. Two hours later I had my meds, Epsom salt, and most importantly hope for the future of my finger.
By Sunday morning the throbbing had ceased. I bandaged that bad boy up, making sure it was not to be seen by my church friends. (They may have scooted a few pews away from me had it been visible.) Worship was not as passionate for me that day. You see, I’m a thumper. My hands are constantly drum beating on the pew in front of me. I tried it a few times, saying, “Ouch!” and soon realizing that thumping was highly overrated. I wallowed in my own self-pity, sitting down and wondering how I’d ever take notes with my hurt finger. That was when the opening video for our service began. The words came up on the screen one sentence at a time. “Are you distracted by the temporary … or focused on the eternal.”
Boom! It hit me like a mack truck. I scribbled the sentence down as best I could, my handwriting resembling that of a 3rd grader. (My apologies if I am offending any 3rd grade teachers out there.) This was indeed a temporary situation. My finger would heal. I feel a heck of a lot better as I hammer this out on my laptop this morning, and take away the puss and blood oozing after each Epsom salt soaking, it is really not that bad at all! It really got me thinking. How many times am I distracted by the temporary? The list began to pile up in my head. Grading a mountain of papers higher than Everest. Dealing with a temper tantrum from my five-year-old. Putting up with the Royals blowing game three of the ALCS. (Come on, Johnny Cueto!)
These are all temporary situations. They won’t last! And God will pull us through them all. Ecclesiastes 3: 11 states, “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.” We are but a speck of dust on God’s timetable. He knows us, but try to fathom our lifespan compared to the beginning of the earth until now. It is incomprehensible! “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” James 4: 14. God has taken care of the temporary for ages, and he will take care of you. And my finger.
So, what are you distracted by today? Is a relationship with a colleague straining on you? Is that stinker in your 5th hour driving you batty? What about testing … does the thought make you want to rip your hair out? (or in my case rip out what is left) All these miniscule issues will be all for naught when we get to heaven. They don’t even come close to touching eternity. Christ tells us, “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life” (John 5: 24). Do you believe in God’s Word? If you do, guess what … that promise above awaits you! And that, my friends, is well worth any infected hangnail we have to endure now.
(Note to the reader … so, if you are a loyal follower of my blog, this is where I normally put a link to a worship song that speaks truth to my theme above. Guess what? I am fresh out of ideas this week! If you have a suggestion for a song or even a scripture that illuminates our promise of eternity, reply back to be below. I’d love to hear from you!)