No Artificial Shortages

It is strange, but I often feel sad at this time of year. The sun is shining on the slopes of the mountain and the early morning sky has not quite finished its transition from silvery-gold to deep blue. The trees along the railroad track shout their joy to the world in rich shades of green. Horses stand in quiet contemplation in pastures as we pass, and cows lay contentedly. This is a glorious day, and I am grateful for it.

It isn’t just that I must spend the day in the office … I am resigned to my fate in that regard, and I hope to get out at lunchtime to enjoy the sunshine. What makes me sad is the knowledge that the equinox has passed, and the days are getting shorter, and that soon these days will be no more. As long as Kathy and Sarah’s birthday is still in the future, I can still pretend that we are in the height of summer. But once their birthday is passed, and Day Camp is over, I have to face the ugly truth: winter will come again.

Pink girls sharing a birthday

Winter holds no real terror for a Washingtonian … we keep snow on the mountains where it belongs, and it rarely dips below freezing. But the rains do sometimes settle in, and it is easy to forget why one lives here, at least until Spring arrives.

I really find that being temporal cramps my style. My spirit seems to rage against the passing of time and entropy. To put it rather melodramatically, I feel the loss of this day like the death of a friend, even now when the sun is barely over the Cascades to the east. I guess it is no surprise that God created me as a spiritual being to be with Him for eternity. On days like this I hug to myself the truth that He will set all things right when He returns, and that no more days like this will have to fade away.

Any day spent with a good book is a day well-spent.

In a novel that Kathy and I have read, there is a cheerful (but obviously brilliant) old professor who loves pastries and desserts in general. One of the things he is famous for saying is “No artificial shortages!” to the delight of those who share in his largess. (No doubt this is to justify his purchase and consumption of a large number of pastries.) I’ve always understood this to mean that we shouldn’t stint our enjoyment of things that are not legitimately scarce. I sometimes wonder what it will be like when we live with the King of Kings and experience His limitless generosity … I can just imagine Him laughing and booming from the throne, “No artificial shortages!”

Obviously Heaven will be a place where there is no shortage of love, which will be very strange. I think most people carefully set boundaries around themselves with regard to the people they choose to care about … there is a sense that one only has so much time and emotional energy and thus must limit the number of people that one cares for. (I suspect that I am guilty of contriving an artificial shortage of love where one does not really exist). It is certainly true, however, that time is limited – what fun it will be to no longer hear the relentless ticking of the clock.

The clock is ticking away on the Refuge … we eagerly look forward to it being ready for guests!

From what I understand, other resources will be equally unlimited – the scripture talks of using gold for paving stones, which even King David could not afford, although he had 7,500,000 pounds of it dedicated for use in building the temple (roughly $77 billion in today’s dollars). We can assume that there will be no limit in terms of food, water, clothing or shelter based on scriptural descriptions of New Jerusalem and God’s provision for us. Even daylight will be unlimited, as God Himself provides the light, and there will not be any darkness.

Nobody really knows what the New Jerusalem will look like — I picked this picture because it is the most fanciful of the guesses I saw. Whatever it is, it will be like nothing we have ever seen before, I suspect.

I wonder if one of the secrets to living in this life the way that God would have us to live is in living according to that Heavenly economy, even now? What would my life look like if I (and other believers) acted as though I had unlimited wealth, unlimited time, unlimited energy?

It certainly changes the way I view this day, when I try to see it in that light. Rather than mourn the impending loss of this day from my meager store, I can confidently look forward to an unending barrage of days, refilling my stock of them any time I feel short. Jesus said, “I have come that you may have life, and have it abundantly.” I guess this is what He meant.


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