When I was 17 years old, nothing seemed more beautiful to me than great literature. I spent four years in college studying Shakespeare, the Romantics, wacky poetry, dark short stories, and all varieties of interesting, heart-wrenching, horrifying, wonderful ideas. In fact, I loved literature so much that a few years later I went back to school and got a master’s degree. I remember spending hours locked away in a room, reading voraciously just to keep up in class, oftentimes with a tissue in hand and tears streaming down. I was so moved by everything.
I am still an artistic-type person. I love reading a really beautiful turn of phrase, seeing a piece of art that resonates in my spirit, watching a film that is wonderfully written and brilliantly directed, hearing a well-crafted piece of music. I find a lot of pleasure in these things that man creates.
God is so gracious to allow us the arts. I believe that we can see Him through the abilities and talents of great artists, writers, musicians. Every beautiful work of art should remind us of the extraordinary, creative God we serve.
But, as much as I can sit and cry and feel reading William Blake, as much as sometimes some good rock and roll seems to stir my soul, I must remember one thing. None of these things will last.
We can and should enjoy them, especially when they turn our hearts toward God. But, the Mona Lisa isn’t eternal. Neither is Moby Dick or even my beloved Jane Eyre.
But, I could give you such a long list of things in our lives that aren’t eternal, couldn’t I? The internet. Smartphones. That beautiful car you drive. The adorable gap where your little boy’s two front teeth should be. The bad day you had yesterday. The sad circumstance you’re enduring. The giggling coming from your kids’ bedrooms. The traffic. The argument you’re having with your husband.
Well, nothing except God’s love.
His wrath will come. His judgment. But, it’s His love that will endure forever.
When we show love in His name, it echoes throughout eternity.
So, when I am tempted to get too wrapped up in the things that I wish would last forever (but won’t) or the things that I wish would go away (but don’t), I try to remember that in light of God’s love, nothing else is really all that important. He is good, and His steadfast love never ends.
I don’t want to hold too tightly to what can’t last. I would rather cling to what is eternal. When I am holding tight to His love, there’s a better chance that love is what’s going to be pouring out of me.
The Christian will take literature a little less seriously than the cultured Pagan…The unbeliever is always apt to make a kind of religion of his aesthetic experiences…and he commonly wishes to maintain his superiority to the great mass of mankind who turn to books for mere recreation. But the Christian knows from the outset that the salvation of a single soul is more important than the production or preservation of all the epics and tragedies in the world: and as for superiority, he knows that the vulgar, since they include most of the poor, probably include most of the superiors. -C.S. Lewis