From God’s eternal perspective there is a literally an infinity before that first date. In a way that boggles my mind, God was always there before each and every day of anyone’s birth. So when I think of the dates on a tombstone, I remember that God was, is and always will be. God is God and is infinitely greater than anything I can imagine. More than that, he has me and all his creation in his sovereign hand.
Then there is the time after the second date. God was, is and will always be God then too. However, now there is a difference. Now we will be living with him in that eternity! The little dash in between is very short but the time in the presence of God is an eternity! There is far more to our lives than just this short life in the dash. We have an eternity of life far beyond anything we can imagine that is coming! We need that perspective to give us hope and strength while we are still living in the dash.
Sometimes life in the dash can be wonderful, but sometimes it can be frustrating and extraordinarily painful. During those painful times, it is tempting to look beyond the second date to that amazing eternity, but let’s resist the temptation to long so much for eternity while we are living now that we miss what God wants us to have in the present. If God wanted us just to be with him in heaven, he would have made that happen. There is something very good and special about this earth and the time we have to live on it.
My point is that in our lives now, we should try as much as we can to enjoy the dash as we anticipate the final goal of eternity with God. And then remember that the goal is not the end but the beginning. There is life beyond the second number... a lot more!! Make everything you can out of the dash but realize that when the second number comes, it gets even better.
In Philippians 3:13-14, Paul writes, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Paul faced many hardships but also had so many joys. He knew what he could look forward to, but he knew that he was still in the dash and he pressed on. May you press on in your dash as well in this coming year.