Friday, October 11, 2013

Having the eternal view by Susan Barnes

The year I became a Christian, Larry Norman recorded a gospel album called, "Only visiting this planet". At the time the thought that earth was not my permanent home was attractive. The apostle Paul had this in mind when he said, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Corinthians 4:18). I liked the idea that what I saw was not all there was. It had the air of adventure.

However time past, I married, started a family, bought a house. It became easy to put down roots and forget I was only a visitor. The idea that I am only visiting was no longer exciting. I had responsibilities that I enjoyed, raising children, maintaining a home and planning a future. It took effort to remind myself that what I see is temporary while God sees the eternal.

One of the reasons that Abraham, Noah, Enoch and Abel were commended in the hall of faith is because they remembered they were only visiting. Hebrews 11:13 reveals their attitude, "admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth." Likewise Peter writes, "Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles" (1 Peter 2:11).

When I have the view of a visitor it helps me cope with life's little irritations as well as the tragedies because I know there is more to life than what I see. When I find myself getting annoyed by temporary inconveniences, computer crashes, power cuts, car break downs, I pause and ask myself – will this matter in 5 years time? Will I even remember what I was upset about in 10 years time? Is it really worth worrying about now?

I can cultivate the attitude of a visitor because I know God sees the eternal and nothing can thwart his plans. I can trust him with my future.


  1. Thanks, Susan--a very timely word. Having God's eternal perspective each day of our lives makes all the difference, just as you describe. God bless!

  2. Susan, I like the thought of weighing up our difficulties/heartaches/tragedies against the passing of time. Same with worry. It's so much easier to leave them all in the Lord's hands. As the song goes..."This world is not my home, I'm just a-passing through.........the angels beckon me from Heaven's open door, and I can't feel at home in this world anymore."

  3. Good thoughts, Susan. Of late, I have started to feel more and more like the words of Rita's song "...I can't feel at home in this world anymore." So, thanks to both of you!

  4. Thanks Susan, I love your post.
    I still like Larry Norman and Randy Stonehill music, their songs are kind of funny now, all these years later....but still there is so much truth there too.....and we are only visiting this planet!
    Won't it be amazing to be with God?
    And wouldn't it be wise of us all to stop and think, as you suggest, will 'this' matter?

  5. Hi Susan
    A great reminder - not only that the trials and pains of the present world are temporary but that we are citizens of heaven - with heaven's values and priorities.

  6. So easy at times to forget this is not our home and we are just passing through. Thanks Susan.

  7. Hi Susan, it's easy to forget this concept, when you consider all the roots we consider we plant, including houses, families, mortgages, work and all the rest. It's a freeing thought, when we pause to think. Thanks for the reminder.