Have you noticed how good things always come to pass. Long-awaited but so quickly past?
Old friends from far-away and long-ago come to visit—stirring memories and names long unspoken—and when good-byes are said a kind of weary home-sickness settles in…
Not a longing for any physical place. Not a longing earth can satisfy–but a longing for no more change, no more growing old, no more good-byes…
Nothing stays. Nothing lasts. The cherished, the familiar, the routine… the best of things are broken, or taken, or lost, or parted with in some way… Season gives way to season passing in a succession that quickens with age. Winter will come, though summer delays yet. Death is sure. Obsolescence is the rule. Tomorrow is uncertain—will it bring sun or clouds? Loss or gain? Wonder or grief?
I feel it in my joints. I am no longer twenty-something. I hear it in my children’s cautions…(who’s looking out for who?!) I see it in my parents—ailing, failing, calling obliquely for help from far-away…Roles reverse and I’m called on to grow up and be care-giver…
Life seems like a very long ‘good-bye’…
An endless deposit of blessings come my way, it’s true. But not for keeps. With open palm I am to hold each one, to delight in it but never grasp it to my heart…to be filled with wonder and gratitude at each and every one, but not to insist on possession. It is as though I’m being forever weaned from the temporal so as to acquire a taste for the eternal—the better and lasting possessions yet to come. Only gratitude, born of trust, is a fitting attitude with which to handle such transience.
I am so fickle, like a spoiled child. Always wanting more. Delighted for a moment and then dejected and demanding. Sinking my hopes in earthly moments, living for bright but transient tomorrows which when come and gone leave me despondent…
And yet we are heirs of an eternal Kingdom, one which will not, cannot, be shaken. (Heb. 12:28)
Our citizenship is not here, but “in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (Phil.3:20,21)
“For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.” (Heb. 13:14)
It’s true, all I see and know here, everything that ‘matters’ in a worldly sense, is destined to perish with the using, and guaranteed to pass into oblivion (I Jn.2:15). How should I then live in the meantime?
It was said of the ‘Hall of Faith’ heroes who lived and suffered and died in faith, that the world was not worthy of them. (Heb. 11:38) They lived differently because they believed in an unseen hope.
If we are truly strangers and pilgrims here and now, what purpose and vision distinguish us from earth-dwellers with no other hope? If this world is like a scene in ‘Our Town’ (see Thornton Wilder’s thought-provoking play by this title) and real life transcends it… how differently will I choose to live? Can I face each day grateful and unafraid—knowing whatever comes is for now, but not forever.
True enough, good things come only to pass, not for keeps. But so do the hard things. The sad things. There is a better day coming, a certain hope that will not disappoint, a goodness that will not fail, a bright tomorrow that will not end…Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life and what’s more, I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. That’s a long time of a good thing, unchanging, unfading, for ‘keeps’.
I guess it’s all a matter of where I set my sights. That which is truly gold will last—“the city was pure gold, clear as glass.…” (Rev.21:18)
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, (I Pet. 1:3,4)
P.S. My title is drawn from this poem by Robert Frost:
Nothing Gold Can Stay
“Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.”