Dr. Bruce Ewing, formerly of Fellowship Bible Church in Tulsa, OK and a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, was my first spiritual leader that I remember talking about, teaching about and living Eternal Perspective. Oh, I’m sure others probably touched on the subject though I was not prepared to hear. Today I’d like to talk about Eternal Perspective and Grieving.
To be clear, Eternal Perspective does not make grieving any easier. The wave of emotions in the immediacy of an event and then the lingering ripples that seem to never end… those don’t go away. Although, like a ripple in a lake, the severeness of the emotional ripples become farther and farther spaced out with less and less force… yet, always noticeable and sometimes unpredictable.
It has been 17 months to the day since Emma left us. To say I am “over it” simply cannot be accepted. Reality has set in. Memories do become sweeter. However, every once in a while a ripple comes by and I find my self bobbing in the emotional waters, if ever so slightly and quite possible unperceived by watchers.
With that prelude, let us move on to Eternal Perspective and why, in my life, grieving can even be wrapped in a warm blanket allowing me to move on, to move forward all the while clinging to the hope that is in Jesus Christ.
I know those two words, Jesus Christ, cause confusion or strong emotions for many readers. I know in today’s world the stories of Christ are easily dismissed and/or mocked. For this writer, however, I’ve spent a lifetime running from Him. I’ve spent a lifetime doubting, like Thomas. I’ve spent a lifetime returning to Him, time and time again. Like the Prodigal Son, I always find myself coming back to Him as He patiently awaits.
Without the Christ, there can be no Eternal Perspective. When Dr. Bruce Ewing began teaching me this, I was enthralled. To this day I return time and time again to my notes, to the Bible where we find Luke 6 and The Sermon on the Mount. What radical words! What a radical perspective!
In short, Dr. Ewing broke it down like this;
Luke 6: 19-26: Eternal Perspective
Luke 6: 27-38: Servant’s Spirit
Luke 6: 39-45: Modeling the Savior
Luke 6: 46-49: Walk of Obedience
Take the time to find your Bible, dust it off and find a quiet place to read/study Luke 6: 19-26 and ask yourself;
- What if this is real?
- What if He really lives?
- Could it be true that “Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.”?
Now, a little caution; When reading through this you have to keep everything in context. You simply cannot pull one verse out while ignoring the surrounding verses. Men have been doing that throughout the ages to advance whatever they would have you believe. Study this for yourself. Ask God to give you discernment as to what this truly means in your life.
Over these last 17 months I’ve had more than a couple people praise my “stoicism” and/or my ability to move on from Emma’s death with grace and purpose. Inside, I laugh. Few can actually understand my inside feelings, the internal feelings of Marie and Piper and Jake and Brandon. Only a few can understand those ripples.
Here it is, only the Eternal Perspective through my belief in Jesus Christ, that He was real, that He is real, allows me to grieve in a “temporary” manner. This fundamental belief system allows me to understand that it is okay to grieve through my selfishness, through my pain, through my missing her in the here and now. And it is this fundamental belief system that allows me to know that one day soon or far away, that I will be reunited with Emma, with my Mom and I will get to see Him up close and in person.
A life in Christ is not trouble free. I laugh at the preachers and pity the followers who treat God, Christ and the Bible like it is some sort of vending machine of happiness and carefree living. Careful reading shows quite the opposite! Sure, you can have great “success” because of your belief in Him. You can also lose everything, at least in the here and now. Listen, I am quite aware that there will be readers, some close friends, that will give me an empathetic nod and dismiss my beliefs as “hopeful” and, quite possibly, a little sad.
That’s okay. I call you to do your reading/studying. I call on you to call on Him. I ask only that you do your own actual research, not that what you have been told or rely on what you think you know. Start with Luke 6: 19-49 and really dig in to the radical nature of what Jesus was saying and see how that fits with what you thought you knew.
Having an Eternal Perspective has no doubt eased my grieving. That same perspective allows me to extend grace, to have patience where appropriate and to realize that judgment of others is fine so long as my life is perfect (Luke 6:41). Yeah, right.