“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalms 23:6.
I have a friend who often reminds me that I am slipping into my “grumpy old man” phase. I remember some of the older gentlemen of my youth, how they thought the younger generations were “going to hell in a hand basket.” On my wall I have a quote from Socrates, the wise Greek philosopher of fifth century B.C. Greece: “Our youth today love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, and disrespect for older people. Children nowadays are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers.” Apparently grumpy ole men have been around for a long time.
One of the things that has always created difficulty is language. Younger generations like to establish their independence by using new phrases and terminology that older folks don’t understand. In my youth things were often “far out” and “groovy.”
Today an expression has come into common usage that troubles me. When something slows us down or makes us wait, people will say it took “forever.” Fair traffic is so bad it took “forever” to get across town. We had to stand in line “forever.” I wanted to download a movie, it took “forever.”
Now I understand exaggeration to make a point (just ask my wife). But when we talk about “forever” we are talking eternity. Obviously the check-out line did not take “forever,” because you’re here now.
The concept of something that lasts “forever” is probably beyond human understanding. Eternity and a God that promises us a dwelling place in his presence, if we believe in and follow his Son, is a wondrous thing. But the righteous ones will go into eternal life (Matthew 25:46).
In our human existence, most things we deal with come to an end. Machines wear out, buildings deteriorate (even stadiums), even big, strong pickup trucks eventually rust and break down. The concept of a Deity that has always been in existence, that loved us even before our cosmos existed, is unfathomable. What are human beings that you pay attention to them (Psalms 8:4)?
That this God offers us an unending future in a mansion prepared for us is truly amazing. “My Father’s house has room to spare, if that weren’t the case, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you.” John 14:2
In view of this holy mystery, I am frustrated when people use “forever” in a casual way.
There, my article is finished. Wow, that took… a long time.