Protecting What Is Most Precious
When my daughter Charlotte was little the most precious thing in the world to her was her blankie. It was, indeed, a special blankie. It was made by her great, great grandma for her grandpa who died well before she was ever born. It was especially soft, made of material from the 1950s. One side had cute, yellow ducks and other cheerful, blue puppies.
Naturally, Charlotte’s greatest fear was the loss of her blankie. So she came to me one day and asked, “When Jesus comes back, will I be able to take my blankie with me?” I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to be able to tell her that her blankie would last forever. But the truth is, due to her fervent devotion, it fell to shreds within a couple of years. The biggest piece is still in a box of her baby things.
It was a compelling picture of life in this decaying world. It made me aware of how completely devoid of power I really am. There was simply nothing I could do to protect her blankie. In this life, it sometimes feels as if the most precious things are like grains of sand slipping through our fingers. And nothing in this world has the power to protect them.
Thankfully, this is not a complete picture of life in this decaying world. God has the power to protect and make what is most precious last.
As an example, take Israel in the wilderness. If you’ve read the Pentateuch (Genesis-Deuteronomy), you know that Israel’s track record of obedience was abysmal. And right smack dab in the middle of those stories of disobedience are the prophecies of Balaam. Balaam was a pagan diviner who would bless or curse people for the right price (Num. 22:6). Balak hired him to curse Israel, but God wouldn’t let him. Instead, he prophesied blessings for Israel. He said that God had blessed Israel and was completely for them. He said, “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should repent; has he not said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not make it good?” (Num. 23:19) In other words, because God had said he would do something, he wouldn’t lie and he wouldn’t change his mind. Instead, he would protect Israel and give them the Promised Land, just as he had said hundreds of years before. (Gen. 15:18-21)
This story of Israel and the Promised Land is just a small picture of God has done to protect those who trust in Christ for salvation. Paul brings it up in his greeting to Titus and the church in Crete. He says that God is trustworthy to do exactly as he has said he will do – in fact, he cannot lie. That news alone brings a sigh of relief. There is someone with the power to protect.
It’s sobering to think that God was so committed to doing this that he sent his Son and that Jesus was willing to die.
But it gets even better. What God has said he will protect and keep for his people is the hope of eternal life. Eternal life. That is way better than an everlasting blankie! Paul says that the hope of eternal life was revealed in Jesus, the Savior, and the message of the gospel, which is now proclaimed. It’s sobering to think that God was so committed to doing this that he sent his Son and that Jesus was willing to die. Yet it is wonderful news for you and me, especially since we still fail just like Israel. Eternal life means the entire reversal of the curse and its consequences, the undoing of all sin and death! It means that nothing truly precious can slip through our fingers because it is protected by God himself.
Of course, we await the complete fullness of eternal life. We live in between the first revelation of Christ and the second, when he will return to judge the earth and make all things new. And it can seem like a very, very long wait. That’s why it’s important to hold onto the promises of God and to remember that he cannot lie. Just has he has protected what is precious in the past, so he will for the future. He will really come and there will be a new creation, without any decay, even of blankies. Eternal life will have its fruition.
In the meantime, he has given you and me the task of proclaiming the hope of eternal life to people who desperately need the One who has the power to protect what is most precious. Eternal life is wonderful news in a decaying world. Who do you know that needs to hear it today?