Tonight, I was on my way upstairs to go to bed when I noticed a little army of ponies, dollhouse family members, and plastic toy accessories lined along the bottom step. One of my little girls had placed them there very deliberately, so I decided to leave them, rather than clean them up.
I felt a little tug in my heart as I walked over them, realizing that in ten years, my teenage girls won’t be carefully lining plastic ponies anywhere in the house. And even though I recognize that in my head, it’s remarkable how easily I forget it in the day-to-day of being a dad.
We’re all that way though. Whether it’s in our work, our friendships, our families, or our social circles, somehow we convince ourselves that things are always going to be the way they are, for better or worse. But why wouldn’t we? God “has put eternity into [our] heart[s]” (Ecclesiastes 3:11), and so we live as if our existence is eternal. But then suddenly we look up, and our kids are starting their first year of college; the bright colors of the sunset fade away; our friend has terminal cancer. We attend our friend’s funeral, we look at the photos of the sunset with disappointment; and we give the plastic ponies to the little girls next door.
C.S. Lewis said, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing else can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” And the desire that we all share is for the good things to keep going without us having to live with the low-grade fear of the moment we’ll lose them.
It is in another place – in God’s country – where those desires will finally be realized, where we will let ourselves lose track of time, because time won’t matter anymore. It will be a place where we can sit and talk with old friends for a couple hundred years, a place where the sky is always painted with vivid colors that we appreciate. It’s a place where I won’t feel a tinge of sadness at the army of toys lined at the bottom of the stairs, because my girls and me – all of us – will have the joy of being little children of God forever.