“This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (Jn. 17:3, NRSV)
Quick: Without thinking too hard, what’s the first thing that pops to mind when you think of “eternal life”?
Those of us who have spent a lot of time in evangelical circles might respond with something like “going to heaven when you die” or “being saved from your sins.” And we’d be right. But we’d also be telling only part of the story.
When Jesus talked about eternal life, He talked about a life that begins now and goes on forever into eternity. It is an abundant life that comes from knowing, really knowing God. Much of our anxiousness, frustration, and discouragement comes from thinking that life “should not be this way.” But we learn from Jesus, who experienced all kinds of hard stuff, that trials don’t have to bring slow death to our souls. Jesus fully trusted in His Abba’s goodness, love, and power. So when He faced difficulties, He was able to say with absolute confidence that God was working life from them. All would be well because God is good. When you know and trust God like that you can, like Jesus, experience peace, hope, joy, and confidence—in other words life—no matter the circumstances.
Abundant, eternal life involves choices we make every day. It doesn’t just happen to us—it’s something we intentionally decide to engage in. So, where does this meditation leave you? Are you content to wait it out until Jesus finally comes back so life can begin? Or do you want to experience the good and abundant life now?
If you’d like to choose life now, think of a specific present situation that doesn’t feel much like “abundant life” for you. Is it possible that God is working out a bigger plan in that circumstance than the obvious frustrations you face each day? Ask God what He wants you to know about Him in this situation. Is there something He wants you to know about His goodness? Love? Power? Wisdom? What prevents you from fully trusting Him in this area? Confess that to Him and ask Him to deepen your ability to trust Him—and to see the life that He is bringing to you through this situation.