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April 26, 1991

Eternity Inside

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He has also set eternity in the hearts of men. ECCLESIASTES 3:11
The most cold-hearted pagan can’t ignore the reality of eternity. It is a built-in component from the God factory—a sneaking suspicion, an unavoidable void, an aching hunger, a feeling that can’t be outrun.
The reality of eternity often is brought to the front burner by a personal disaster: divorce, job loss, disease, retirement, or the death of a friend. You can’t ignore that reality in yourself, and the people with whom you work can’t ignore it in themselves. It’s there even if they don’t know it is there.
Sometimes it’s appropriate to push the truth of eternity to the surface of a person’s consciousness by prodding it with conversation or by initiating a discussion about it. But it’s often better to let God do His work and then make ourselves available when the floodgates open.
In a previous career as a truck driver, the men with whom I (Tom) shared a tractor-trailer over the course of a week often declared early in a run that they had no desire to talk about spiritual things. When they made that declaration, I always honored it and never brought up the topic. I didn’t have to. In the course of those long hours together, they inevitably brought it up.
There was something about rolling through the Smoky Mountains at 2:00 in the morning—with the full moon shining—that made them want to initiate a discussion about spiritual things. The eternity in their hearts needed to talk. At that point I could bring a report about the good news of Jesus. That is the kind of eternity that I am interested in. As it turns out, that is the kind of eternity everybody else is interested in, too.

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