As I draw ever closer to the end of my sojourn on earth (my mortal life), I find myself developing an eternal perspective. Or rather, I find God developing it in me. We human beings, bound as we are by the shackles of time to the present moment, can only look to the past as we remember it and try to envision what the future will hold for us. The latter is a futile exercise as we cannot accurately predict what lies ahead. We find ourselves constantly amazed by what befalls us. God, on the other hand, is not only always with us (and in us) at the present moment, but also outside of time in the eternal realm where he has always dwelt. He is thus able to see the end, as well as the beginning of time, so knows exactly what the future will bring us. As a result of this he chooses to view us as the person he has created us to be, and is in the process of transforming us into – that is, a creature in his own image (how we look) and likeness (how we act). So when he looks at us he sees the image and likeness of himself, clothed in robes of his own righteousness. That is how he can lavish his unconditional love on us, regardless of what state we currently find ourselves in. He sees who we will be, not what we have been and are now. I don’t know about you, but that is very comforting to me as imperfect as I am.
That also challenges me to see other people as God sees them (that is, who he is making them to be). Since God loves all of his creation, I must also love all of his creatures, no matter how imperfect they appear to me in the present moment. I must share in God’s eternal perspective.
And that brings me to another point. Time is but a temporary construct that will one day come to an end when God’s plan is completed. (Revelation 10:6, 7) We will all then be in the eternal realm together. In the meantime most of us will pass through death into that realm beforehand. There is therefore no reason to fear death. It is merely an early passage from the temporal to the eternal state. That too is a most comforting thought.
To summarize then, developing an eternal perspective prepares me for eternal life by showing me who we will all be when we are together in that realm, and challenges me in the present moment to live my life as if we were all there already. That, dear friends, is the kingdom of God in the midst of us on earth.