“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18, NIV 1984).
My wife and I crossed the street from our home to gather with the neighbors in an annual neighborhood greet-fest. You know, wine and cheese, chips and dip and “How have you been since we haven’t seen each other for a year?” I’m basically an introvert and selfish with my time, but I attend these things because I know that I should remain relevant as a Christian within my neighborhood.
Of course, like all selfish introverts, I enjoyed myself and grew from the experience.
As I drifted from one neighbor to the next, one of the themes I heard over and over again was, “I can’t believe it’s been so long. How good it was back then. Time just goes by too fast.”
It reminded me of the song by Need to Breathe, “As the years go by like stones under rushing water, we only know, we only know when it’s gone.”
The bittersweet sadness of good times gone, I know how that feels.
Sometimes I, too, look at the rapid pace of time with such a sense of sadness: good times past, good strength diminished, lost opportunities—all in the rear view mirror. But the Scriptures remind me as a follower of Jesus the Christ that joy should also come with time’s passing. Just as the stream of time sweeps us through past events and joys that we will never see again, for us the river of life is going somewhere.
As time passes, we are rushing toward an established future, a future that erases the pains of the past and brings us to relationships and joys even greater than those we have known and lost. Just like the rigors of medical and dental school led us somewhere grand, we are headed somewhere grand with the passage of time. Life’s present pains will not last forever, neither for us or for those we love. As the stream of life rushes on, broken bodies are closer to renewal; loneliness is closer to eternal arms of love; injustice is closer to justice; evil is closer to oblivion; and I’m closer to Jesus the Christ.
Sure, it is sometimes sad to look back to picnics on the stream bank where life was grand. Sure, it is vital that I help others and serve my God along the way, but the goal of life is more than the journey. The major goal of life is ahead, where the river of life is taking me. Not only will there be good times along the stream ahead---as I travel, I will be getting somewhere. And the more of life behind me, the nearer I will be to all that matters forever.
Thank you for this journey with you at my side. And thank you for the journey’s end with you, forever.