November Gratitude Stone 22 Eternal Life
This entry is from Ears to Hear entry by my colaborer, Christina Marandola:
Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne and worship him who lives forever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” —Revelation 4:9–11
I think one of our greatest battles as Christians is to remember that we are eternal. Many of us lead busy lives. Our days are filled with tasks and unending to-do lists. Some of us have been recently struck with a tragedy and are trying to navigate the waters of grief. Others are working through a job loss, or a move, or some sort of displacement. There are countless situations that vie for our whole attention. A danger of these situations is that we can end up losing sight of eternity while becoming more and more focused on our daily circumstances.
I’ve seen in my own life that I’ve become so busy that I’m focused on just trying to make it through the day without forgetting something on my to-do list. There’s not much room in my thoughts to think about eternity. There’s really not much room in my thoughts to think about anything beyond today. And, I think this is a tactic Satan uses to cheapen our experience of God. If he can get us so focused on our circumstances, whatever they may be, he can sway us to forget about God’s eternal faithfulness.
Even my practice of thanksgiving is often very circumstantial and fleeting. Many times, if I remember to thank God for something, it’s because He “followed through” on a prayer request I had prayed about. While I believe thanking God for responding to a prayer request is important, I think the Bible calls us to a bigger type of thanksgiving overall.
What I see in this Revelation verse is something that I haven’t thought much about. Thanksgiving happens in heaven. Here we have a glimpse into a mysterious heavenly scene that’s filled with creatures we don’t totally understand. Though we don’t know much about them, we do know that they surround the throne of God, and they endlessly give Him praise and glory. When I think of heaven, I often think of praising God. But, in verse 9, we see here that the living creatures don’t only give Him praise; they give Him thanks. Thankfulness is a part of their eternal song.
What were they thanking Him for? I have no idea the specifics, but I do know that God is the creator of everything. All of us creatures, heavenly and earthly, are indebted to Him for our lives. And, the more I read about our eternity, the more I believe that we will be so aware of the ways that God has cared for us in this life. Ephesians references that He wants to show us His kindness in eternity. Revelation 7 references a thanksgiving in eternity that’s connected to the salvation Jesus has given us. We will know and see the goodness of God towards us. And we will be thankful.
No matter our circumstances, we always have a reason to be thankful. God has given us life. Jesus has saved us from sin. We are going to live forever with Him. Our eternity will be filled with growing a deeper understanding of God’s love towards us. Let’s become more aware of the broad ways God has blessed us and the eternity He invites us to. Let’s begin our eternal thanksgiving today. This life is a dress rehearsal; it is short and the next one is not!