Ian drummed his fingers on the pastor’s lacquered wood desk. His mind blazed with unanswered questions.
If he doesn’t get back soon I might explode.
He glanced around the tidy office. Shelves upon shelves of theological books and study materials covered the walls on nearly every side.
Tired of sitting, Ian rose from his cushioned chair and shuffled to one of the shelves, hands thrust into his jeans pockets. His eyes rolled over the numerous titles as he moved along, ducking and bending slightly to see the lower levels.
Wow, this guy has something on every subject! Salvation, forgiveness, grace, predestination ...
Ian froze as his eyes locked onto a title in the next category. The spine read Measuring Eternity. He darted to the next book. Everlasting: The Meaning of Eternal Life.
“No way!” Ian grabbed one of the books and flipped it open.
Before he could skim the introduction, the office door squeaked behind him.
Ian shoved the book back in its place. “Oh, ... Pastor Kennings. I was just, uh ...”
The fifty-or-so minister grinned and moved to give Ian a firm handshake. “I wouldn’t expect you to sit in here and do nothing while you waited for slow-poke me to get out of a business meeting.” He laughed and gave Ian a friendly slap on the shoulder. “Feel free to browse my library anytime I keep you waiting.”
Ian tapped the shelf with his fingertips a few times and then pushed his hand back in his pocket. “Thanks, sir.”
“So,” Pastor Kennings turned to the bookshelf, “What is it that caught your eye among my mountains of reference materials?”
“Well, sir,” Ian pulled out the book entitled Everlasting, “I found a section that deals with the topic I was here to see you about.”
“Uh-oh, now my own books are gonna put me out of a job! That’s what I get for taking too long in meetings.” He laughed again, then glanced at the book in Ian’s hand. “Ah, ‘eternal life.’ Is that the subject you’re curious about?” The pastor crossed his arms loosely, his attention focused on Ian.
“Sort of,” Ian stuffed the book in its slot once more. “I’ve been thinking about the whole subject of eternity. You know, since I’m new to being a Christian, there’s a lot I don’t understand about it.”
Pastor Kennings chuckled. “You’re not alone there, son. I’ve been a Christian for going on thirty-five years and I still don’t understand eternity. I think that’s one subject we’ll never fully grasp. At least not on this earth.”
“That’s what’s so confusing about it. It’s like no matter how far I reach with my mind, I can’t wrap my thoughts around it. I never used to think much about anything beyond the here and now. Now I know that I have eternal life through Jesus and I try to comprehend what that’ll be like and it’s ... it’s ...”
“I was gonna say crazy.”
Kennings smiled, a knowing look in his eyes. “Ian, one thing you’ll learn about being a Christian is that God doesn’t expect you to comprehend everything. He knows you can’t. In fact, a big part of knowing Him is pure and simple trust. Trying to grasp eternity is like trying to grasp God. There are many things that we can learn about Him, many truths about Himself that He reveals through His Word. But when we try to reason out His every attribute, well, we just can’t do it. Especially the part about His being eternal.”
“What are some things we can learn about eternity?”
The pastor leaned against the bookshelf and breathed a long whistle. “That’s a tall order. It’s a pretty immense topic. The basics would be that it goes on forever ... in eternity past and eternity future. Like God, it had no beginning and has no end. It’s outside of time. It’s beyond time.” He scratched his head. “And of course, we are eternal beings. Because we have the breath of God in us, we will live eternally either with God or apart from Him.”
Ian shifted from one foot to the other. “And only what we do for Him will last for eternity.”
“I think you’re on the right track, kid. Eternity in your heart and mind.” Kennings pulled out the book Ian had held. “Why don’t you borrow one of these? But only one. I need the rest for research on a new sermon series I'm starting.”
They both laughed.
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