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Things are not as they seem to be

Voices of Religion

Posted: Friday, October 14, 2005

One of the most interesting things I have noticed about myself in the 54 years I have been alive is that a wonderful experience is great, but don’t try to duplicate the same experience over again. The second time is just not the same.

Have you ever noticed that? When I try to make something happen the same way it had before, it just doesn’t quite turn out the same. Another thing: Have you gone back to a place you knew very well, like your old high school after 20 or 30 years?

It’s not the same either, is it? Most of the teachers you knew are either gone or retired. The buildings have been remodeled or changed and everything looks completely different. When I was a young boy, I had a pet rat terrier dog that was like my shadow. He would be by my side wherever I would go. We were inseparable friends. I remember my dog, Pal, being so smart, it seemed he could do just about anything except talk. He would count by barking or sneezing. He would chase anything you threw and bring it right back. He did tricks like roll over, play dead and so on.

One day, he was hit by a car. He did not make it and my heart was broken with his loss. My uncle Charley, who had given us Pal, felt so bad about the loss. A few weeks after Pal died, Uncle Charley brought another terrier dog to us, similar to Pal, but not the same. This dog was a little older. Instead of being a playful pet like Pal was, this dog liked to lie around and didn’t much care for doing tricks. The dog was just not the same as Pal. As I got older, it seemed many times I had to learn the same lesson over and over again. You can’t duplicate the things in life you enjoy most, and the things you enjoy in life most last for only a short while. Is it because everything in life is temporal?

The Psalmist King David said, “As for man, his days are as grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone, as though we had never been here,” Psalm 103:15-16. If today is too short to live for, then could the answer be in living for tomorrow? Before I became a Christian, I felt frustrated about such matters. I wanted to live for today as though there was no tomorrow.

Wrong.

Why, then, did a good thing only last a short while, I often wondered? After years of searching, reading and diligent listening to the wisdom of men, I began to see a glimmer of light for me to all these really deep questions in life. I began to see hope in the gospels of Jesus Christ. Finally, I began to discover teachings that made sense of the complex questions that life demonstrated around me.

For example, Jesus shared in Matthew 6:19-21 why you can’t duplicate wonderful experiences or places or things in this life over and over again:

“Don’t store up treasures here on Earth, where they can be eaten by moths and get rusty, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where they will never become moth-eaten or rusty and where they will be safe from thieves. Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.”

So, if my main goal in life is to be happy, I need to find out what really makes me happy. I can now see that my happiness, or hope, is not in this world. This life we live today was never meant to last forever. Rather it’s a life that lasts only a short while like the lilies in the field that bloom one day and are gone the next. Jesus came to tell us about a life that lasts forever, that is not of this world. He came to explain to us many mysteries that perplex our minds about life, death and about what was, what is and what is to come.

He gives us all we need to know about tomorrow so we can begin to really live today. If our hearts are searching only for what we can have today, we will be like the little boy who lost his best friend, his dog, and never wanted another dog again because it would never be the same as before.

To me there is so much truth in Jesus’ teaching about treasures we seek. I have seen what rust can do to metal. I have had moths eat material from a favorite shirt. The things of the world are constantly changing.

We live in an environment that is based on change. It’s like the seasons that come and go and are constantly changing. The weather is continuously changing. Clothing trends are constantly changing. Popular music changes year to year. Styles of automobiles change each year.

The new becomes old and the old gets older. Everything is constantly changing around us, but there is one thing that never changes — the word of God.

In my past years of learning the word of God, I can see what was good for me back in the 1970s is still good for me today. The principle teachings are the same. The spirit of God is the same. We change, but God remains the same.

I’ve heard this popular statement wherever I go: “If you don’t like the weather right now, wait awhile, it will change.” Positive proof is all around us. Things are not as they seem to be. One thing is for sure, the Lord is the same today as he was yesterday and will be the same tomorrow.

I can put my trust in the Lord for today and for tomorrow. In a world ever changing around us, the Lord is my rock — a sure help in time of trouble. The Lord will give me all I need if I just put my trust in him and not on the temporal things of the Earth that pass away with each turn of the day.

Mark Conway is an evangelist living in Seward.

You may contact him via e-mail at akmark50@hotmail.com.



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