Eternity in our hearts

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God gives us the desire to live life long

by Ed Boschman, USMB executive director

On occasion I am asked questions about do-overs. “Would you go back in time if you could?” Or, “If you could, would you want to live your life over again?” My instinctive response is most always, “Absolutely!” I love living, and most days I love my life.

Not everyone is so inclined. A lot of people endure challenges in their lives far more intense than mine. It makes total sense that they would not be enthusiastic about living their lives over again. But the hardships of my life have not been so severe as to tip the scale in the direction of reluctantly hanging on until I close my eyes in death. Life and breath are a sacred trust for me. From my vantage point, the thrills and spills of life are a grand privilege. The turmoil of intense challenges and the anguish of deep hurts are not enough to steal away the joy of living.

The will to live is powerful. Before my father graduated into the presence of the Lord, we talked about how hard it was to be elderly and somewhat incapacitated. He would say things like, “Oh Ed, I just want to go to heaven” and, “I so much want that it be my time soon.” But then days later, when it was time for an appointment with the cardiologist to have his pacemaker checked out, he was nothing but enthused about that doctor ‘s visit. He too loved living.

Some decades ago, I strummed my guitar as we sang a folksy little song that included the line, “We’re gonna live forever, that’s what Jesus said….” Perhaps it was then—in my early adult years—that I first got in touch with actually wanting to live forever. Since then, it has been part of my plan to do whatever possible to stretch living to its capacity, by packing a lot into the present and by upping the odds for the future by eating more salads than French fries and more oat bran than bacon.

One of the sacred privileges of living is to try, after stumbling, to get it right the next time. Messing up is part of our reality. Even the apostle Paul, our heroic spiritual giant, was transparent enough to write that he ended up doing the stuff he didn’t want to and not doing the stuff he wanted to. When I play golf, I get that feeling a lot. Man, I’d like to have that swing over again. And while that can’t happen, thankfully, there is always another tee box coming. Life most often offers us that opportunity. That makes for epic living.

Now and again I ponder why it is that I want so badly to live life to the full and live it long and to live it over again hypothetically if given the chance. My tentative conclusion is that it is because I was designed to live forever. The wisdom of Solomon led him to conclude that, “God has also set eternity in the human heart” (Eccles. 3:11).

This wisdom was a gift to Solomon from that same creator God. He can’t have been wrong. That’s it then. The reason for the inexorable will to live is because that is how God made me. And you. The reason for the intense desire to live life long and to the full is because that is God’s design for us.

John’s Gospel tells us that Jesus said he came to give “abundant life.” My sense is that a sincere commitment to live life with a desire for intimate partnership with God nourishes the idea of doing so for as along as possible. What I know for sure is that my heart wants this to go on forever.

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