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Maintaining an eternal perspective

Many of the headlines and news stories we see today are troublesome, and it can be easy to feel frustrated, angry, and perhaps helpless in the midst of everything that’s going on.

After all, upstanding citizens are being persecuted and prosecuted within the shifting dynamics of a society in which God’s principles and priorities are often cast aside.

Constitutional rights—like freedom of speech—are being suppressed in an online world controlled by algorithms created by those with specific agendas.

Hatred and chaos too-often prevail in situations that would benefit most from the love, mercy, and grace of Jesus—if only his message could cut through the noise.

So, as believers, what should we do in the midst of all of this?

For sure, we need to stand for Jesus and be faithful to him.

And we also need to maintain an eternal perspective through undaunted faith that the Creator of the universe is always in charge—like the Apostle Paul did:

“…I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. …Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. …as I have often told you before and now say again even in tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:12-14, 18-21, NIV).

Another who consistently embraces an eternal perspective is Randy Alcorn.

Each week, I pray about what God wants me to share in these posts. Earlier this week, I felt the Holy Spirit’s leading to write about maintaining an eternal perspective in the midst of the troublesome landscape of our world today—so I jotted down the title and a few notes to develop as the week went on.

Friday morning, while I was doing my devotions, I got up from my red couch and looked through the books on my shelf for another purpose, and came across Randy’s book, Heaven—which is described by Rick Warren as “…the best book on Heaven I’ve ever read” and by Stu Weber like this: “Other than the Bible itself, this may well be the single most life-changing book you’ll ever read.”

I hate to admit that I haven’t yet read Heaven, but it just got moved to the “read next” spot in my study, since I don’t think it was any coincidence that I pulled it out.

Anyway, when I was reading Randy’s author profile on the book jacket, I came across the name of his ministry: Eternal Perspectives Ministries.

I may have laughed out loud. Sometimes, God cracks me up, and I thanked him for being so specific. 😊

When I read Randy’s powerful story about how his ministry began, I wasn’t surprised by the persecution he faced for standing up for the unborn—and was inspired by the strength of his family’s convictions to do whatever was needed to be obedient to God’s direction. Those experiences helped solidify Randy’s (and his family’s) commitment to keep an eternal perspective no matter what they faced.

In my own life, I’ve had some powerful eternal-perspective experiences, too.

In my post, Angels and Butterflies, I described how getting to share my mom’s end-of-life journey with her and being with her when she took her last breath impacted my eternal perspective.

Although I’ve been with many at that time through my work in hospice, it wasn’t until I shared this final moment with my precious mom that I felt like I got to have a glimpse of heaven just by being there with her.

In her last days, hours, minutes, and seconds, I believe Mom had one foot on Earth and one foot in heaven—which is a valuable mindset for each of us to embrace no matter how much time we have left in this world.

By doing so, we can maintain an eternal perspective, regardless of what’s going on in the world around us. After all, as the writer of Hebrews reminds us, “…this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come” (Hebrews 13:14, NLT).

And in Romans, we’re reminded that there is nothing in this world that can overwhelm God or separate us from his power and love:

“…If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? … No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8: 31-35, 37-39, NIV).

Wow!

That’s one of my favorite passages in Scripture, and you can see why. When a world that doesn’t know Jesus wants to try to intimidate us in one way or another, we need to remember who we are as God’s children and savor the fact that our Father is in charge and nothing can separate us from his love and the hope it provides. It’s a hope God calls us to share with those in this world who so desperately need it.

By keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus while we fulfill his specific purposes for each of us here—we can maintain an eternal perspective no matter is going on around us—and look forward to the day when he either returns, or decides to call us Home.

This post first appeared in the latest edition of The Empowered Traveler™ Newsletter. If you’re not already a subscriber, you can do that here: Subscribe to Sue’s newsletter.

Feature photo by Jeremy Perkins on Unsplash.

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