Eternity in Man’s Heart
Illustration: Over the holidays I got in some more time on the trails. My old dog, Brewster, knows my favorite trails, so he maintains an aggressive pace at times. I have to call to him occasionally to slow down so I can take in the scenery. I love the seasons in north GA. Regardless of season, there is beauty to behold if you pay attention. But Brewster just likes to splash in the creeks and chase the deer. The creeks were running well due to recent rainfall. Brewster got in, drank, and smelled the wildlife trails that led to the water. I snapped some photos, opened my ruck for my water bottle, and sat on the bank and sipped, watched, and listened. I heard the red woodpecker working away at a rotten white oak over my shoulder from the direction we’d come. I watched small fish dart away from Brewster as he chased them in the creek. The fish left momentary V’s in the water’s surface as they fled from Brewster. I untied and retied the laces on my boots for the next leg of the hike, and called to Brewster. “Come on, buddy; let’s go up.” And we headed up towards the ridge. We knew from experience it would take us almost two hours to make it to the top, but it has always been worth it. The views; the smells of the cool December air; the wildlife. No computer screens, no traffic, no news of politics.
Scripture: Perhaps my favorite book of the Bible is Ecclesiastes. It comes from what is termed the wisdom literature in Scripture (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon). Most folks know a little something from Ecclesiastes 3 due to the hit rock-n-roll song, “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by the Byrds. But I love reading Ecclesiastes because of its literary brilliance. God showcases beauty amidst brokenness. Solomon teaches throughout that, yes, this is a broken and fallen world, but there is still beauty in it. And if you pay attention, you will behold it. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart . . . .” (Eccl 3:11, ESV).
Encouragement: Perhaps holidays afforded you the opportunity to unplug a bit from screen time. Perhaps you were not glued to social media. Perhaps you made good memories with your loved ones. Perhaps you took in some of the beauties that God graciously provides in his creation. He made it, the Bible teaches, beautiful. And he made it to attest to its Maker’s glory. Do we pay attention? It’s no accident that everything–from our strands of DNA, to the trout in these creeks, from Saturn’s rings, to Brewster’s sense of smell alerting him that we’re being watched by whitetails on the western ridge—everything bears witness to its Maker. God does not hide. On the contrary, he celebrates himself through what he has made–as evidences of himself, so that we would seek and find him. He put eternity in our hearts.
Brewster played in the creeks; he chased squirrels up into the massive trees that created the majestic canopy; I climbed the granite rocks topped by green moss that reminded me of the green felt on the billiard table I had as a boy. And in my mind kept running the refrain: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart . . . .” (Eccl 3:11).