Eternal Life

I don’t know what real loneliness is. For over 20 years I have been married to my best friend. We have a very rich life. We drink coffee. We go on walks. We share the deepest parts of ourselves. I don’t know what loneliness is.

It doesn’t matter to me, though. I don’t have to know loneliness to appreciate marriage.

I don’t even have to know other people experience loneliness. In fact, as I look at my marriage, I wish everyone in the world could experience the kind of intimate connection we have. The deep friendship is that good.

The fulfillment of marriage is not realized and enjoyed because there is a thing called loneliness. It is fulfilling because it is. God made us for it. It is part of humanity the way it was intended. Loneliness is less than God wants for us and the further we get from what God made us for, the less we are fulfilled and the less human we are.

It is not at all unlike eternal life.

I am enjoying the discussion here and elsewhere generated by Rob Bell’s book. One of the things that disturbs me is the doggedness with which some want to hold to Hell. And by “hell,” I mean the current evangelical version that insists that everyone who doesn’t __________ will burn forever in eternal, conscious suffering at the hand of God.

As I have already so eloquently said, I don’t know exactly what I believe about Hell. In truth, I am not sure it is really knowable. It got me wondering if I was somehow diminishing the work of God by my lack of understanding.

I get that I am saved from sin, judgment and Hell. But I don’t think that is the point.

I am betrothed. I am adopted. I am redeemed. I am justified. I am grafted. I am known. I am loved. I am saved.

I don’t need to know or understand the flip side of all those things to appreciate what I have. I am experiencing the eternal life of God–right now and forever. It is enough for me.

I suppose when I courted and eventually proposed to the woman who would be my wife I might have thought about loneliness, but I don’t remember that. What I remember was wanting, more than anything in the world, to be with this person the rest of my life. Being with her was enough.

I don’t follow Jesus because if I don’t I will be lost to Hell. I follow Jesus because it is what I was made to do. It is where I find real fulfillment. It is where I find real life. That is enough.

I love being a follower of Jesus. It is so fulfilling, I would love for everyone in the world–indeed, everyone who ever lived to experience it. It is that good. If there is a way for God allow that to happen, I will rejoice (at least I hope I would. I don’t need people to be in Hell for me to experience eternal life with God (Heaven).

I know there is a Hell. I know there is a place where people do not know Jesus and do not want to be a part of His Kingdom. I don’t understand them. I don’t know what it is like. I don’t need to know.

About shepherd

I am a pastor at a local church.
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2 Responses to Eternal Life

  1. Eklund says:

    still thinking…still thinking…my brain is hurting…I’m challenged. I’m horrified. I’m in wonder. One thing is that I’m so glad you’ve found _______ and she’s found you. In the same light, I’ve got my Mike and he’s got me…that is all God’s design. So now I’m left to think and wonder some more on all these things.

  2. vernon says:

    I understand the concept of hell being temporary, not certain yet if I agree but I can see where the arguement stems from. where the heck does jeff cooks annihilationist view come from?

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