the faithfulness of God

August 11, 2011

Talking with friends tonight about the impermanence of friendship, about the transience of it. How easily it’s lost, how easily it fades. How fickle we are and how impermanent and fragile friendship is. And I said I was despairing because these friendships didn’t last, and my friend said, “Nothing lasts forever, though.”

And then inside me was a noSome things last forever, my darling. Some things do.

The love of God endures forever.

I have just seen the value of eternity. I never understood why eternal life was such a blessing- it sounds like a long time to be alive, which is wearisome. Endlessly bland. But I’ve just had a bit of a perspective shift. In this world everything decays, gets worn. Lost. Fades and grows old and dies, and we lose what we love and break our hearts over the impermanence of it, repeatedly. Friendships in particular, relationships and how the people you love now can one day become the people you remember vaguely, sadly, at distant moments and in brief passages of time, in between eating yoghurt or checking the hallway clock. We lose our memories and our dreams, we lose our innocence.  We are impermanent and broken. Nothing lasts forever.

But the love of God is permanent and enduring. It is the one thing I can hold on to, the one thing I can trust not to break under me or end eventually, a heartache and a loss and a grief in a few years’ time. And it gives colour to the things it touches- gives the promise of permanence, the promise of restoration. Everything does decay, and become lost and worn. But it won’t be like that forever.

We are promised restoration, when everything that is lost will be found again- everything– and all that is broken in this world will be mended, and all that is hurt will be healed, and everything wrong set right. It is the answer we are given to the swift slippage of where we are at, now. Perhaps, then, restoration- is as one restores furniture, too, as one finds what is lost and recovers what has grown dim with age, what has faded and died. Brings it back to what is truly life. Nothing here lasts forever, and everything decays, grows worn, dim, lost. But the love of God endures forever, and our God has promised to restore.

How does it look, then? To live conscious of this? Knowing that these things are coming, that this impermanent is in itself impermanent, that forever is coming and it is good? I was thinking, as a Christian one of the things we live in right now is restoration, is the process of healing and binding and mending and restoring. And I didn’t realise until today how that applies to relationships too- how the brokenness and impermanence of relationships also needs to be healed and bound up and found. That, then, means being faithful in friendship. To be faithful. I am a terribly fickle person- I have so many friends, and in the ups-and-downs of depression, very little energy. But- an epiphany- to be faithful to friendships is what we are also called to do, not just to bring justice in the big broken things of the world. To be faithful in our daily relationships and our daily jobs. That, too, is mending what is broken. And God knows how important relationships are, how crucial. 

There are things to think about, then. To be faithful in friendship. That- is hard. I have too many friends and too little energy. God help me, then. (But we are faithful because God is faithful to us…)

And then, the promise. Again, the promise. Always, it goes back to the promise- it is the only solution to the impermanence, the fear I have for my friends, for the people I love, that I will lose them through time and the many small deaths that come with all things in this broken world. You have promised restoration, and your love endures forever. And that- affects everything.

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