Lose Not the Eternal
“O God, the protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy: Increase and multiply upon us thy mercy; that, through being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal.”
I wonder how many times I come into the presence of the Eternal One guarding the temporal in advance. I kneel my knees but my heart and hands are still reaching for the things of this world. I don’t speak it out loud but in the innermost regions of my heart, a voice whispers, “I will give you this much, but only this much …” My head guards my heart to be careful lest I go too far.
I will follow you, but don’t ask me to go there …
I will serve you, but I can’t get my hands that dirty …
I will obey you, but only if I don’t have to surrender all …
The temporal sinks its talons into my being without my awareness. I finish my quiet time in the secret place before I hear Him ask too much. I pray while busy with other tasks in fear of being too silent and still to hear His quiet voice.
It’s a strange thing. The older one gets the wiser one does not necessarily become. When I was young, the battlecry of my life was Philippians 3:7-11: “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ …”
Forty years of living does my heart still cry it aloud, do I still consider all loss for Christ?
Guarding the Temporal
Nestled at the end of C.S. Lewis’ brilliant collection of essays, The Weight of Glory, we find his final essay "A Slip of The Tongue", in which he suggests the root principle of all these precautions is a guarding of the things temporal. There are things in this world we refuse to completely let go of. We grasp for the temporal all the while the eternal is within our reach. He has set eternity in our hearts and yet we continue to hold on to the things that wither and fade.
Lewis quotes: “This is my endlessly recurrent temptation: to go down to that Sea and there neither dive nor swim nor float, but only dabble and splash, careful not to get out of my depth and holding on to the lifeline which connects me with my things temporal.”
How do I gain a holy dissatisfaction with the things of this world?
I want to drown in the depths of Who He is.
I long to dive deep.
I am done dabbling in the Sea.
He is All
The Eternal One requires one thing: ALL. The demand is clear. This is no ordinary life we are called to live. Christ asks us to consider the cost, die to our selves, and pick up our cross. As Lewis reminds, “He claims all, because He is love and must bless. He cannot bless us unless He has us...Therefore, in love, He claims all. There’s no bargaining with Him.”
There is no bargaining but the beautiful paradox is this:
He wants all because He IS all.
He claims all, but He is all.
He is ALL we need. Ever.
I recently read how Francis Assisi, newly converted to Christ, impacted Bernard of Quintavalle, one of the wealthiest noblemen of the 13th century, to follow Christ. Bernard, so impressed by Francis asked his visitor to stay the night, preparing a place for him in his own room. Francis laid upon the bed, pretending to sleep while Bernard did likewise. As the night ebbed on, Bernard was amazed to see Francis kneeling in the flickering lamplight, repeating again and again the prayer: “My God and my all.” He prayed this over and over again throughout the entire night: “My God and my all.”
God, the Eternal One, is all.
May we cease guarding the temporal.
May we dive in the Sea.
May we lose not the eternal.