53. We do not know how long we have left until our "pause," but God does.

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? {Matthew 6:27}

If we could really grasp the truth about eternal life, would it make a difference in how we lived today in this world? Do you think that understanding that going to sleep in the first death is just a “pause” in the great scheme of a grand, eternal life with God could help us to be less obsessed with when our “pause” will come, doing everything we possibly can to avoid that “pause,” or acting like the world is coming to an end when we are faced with our own “pause” or the “pause” of someone we love?

This is not to say that having someone we love in our daily lives today and having them gone from our daily lives tomorrow doesn’t cause sadness and a whole host of other emotions as we adapt to the changes such an event brings. But it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world, and as Paul wrote, those of us who know the truth about what’s happening in this world and in God’s universe shouldn’t be grieving like those who don’t know the big picture.

The reality is that Jesus spoke the truth when He said that none of us can add a single hour to our span of life. God knows how much longer we have left until we will encounter the “pause” in our eternal life, but we don’t. All we have to live is this day, and maybe not even to the end! The tragedy is that when we get so wrapped up in trying to control the “pause,” we miss out on the life we have today, right now. In the 18 months it took for my father to go from ALS diagnosis to the day he passed away, three of the “healthy” people who had extended heartfelt sympathies to him because of his “terminal” diagnosis were put into boxes and lowered into the ground. They “knew” he was going to die because he had ALS; they never imagined he would be offering condolences to the loved ones they left behind.

And that’s the point: we fix our hopes and fears on things like words and labels, but God knows how much longer we have left until we will encounter the “pause” in our eternal life. We don’t. But what we should know by now is that our God is good and gracious and that He is always acting in our best interest. We should know that the only thing that can separate us from Him is a hardened heart, so that no matter what comes outside of that, we are safe in His hands. And if we do know all of that, shouldn’t we start to trust Him a little bit more with the “pause”?

If you want to dig deeper—
Job 12:10
Job 14:5
Psalm 39:4-7
Psalm 73:25-26
Psalm 139:16
Ecclesiastes 3:11
Ecclesiastes 9:10
Luke 23:43