Beyond Pretend—Introduction

Looking past this world ...

  • So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV).

We cannot know the reality of life if we do not look past this world. God is good, better than we could even dream, but we will not experience his goodness if we live in a world of pretend, a world limited to and constructed in our human, finite minds, a universe that leaves God out of the picture.

Step back and think about it. If we build our lives according to a blueprint based on human capability and intellect, then what are we left with? Can a mere mortal formulate a viable plan for immortality? Can the finite somehow prepare for the infinite? Where does that leave us? Or better yet, where does that take us?

We need a plan for the future which is better than anything we could ever come up with on our own. One day we will die and leave this life. God offers his plan for the journey. The question is, do we accept his gracious offer, or do we make our own travel arrangements?

Most people would agree that there is more to life than the empirical, what our senses—sight, sound, touch, taste and smell—reveal to us. We may label this awareness as religion, the force, spirituality, mysticism, etc., but we are all aware of the intangibles that envelop our lives, the people around us and the world we live in.

  • He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV).

This is why people who have no apparent interest in God or a next world suddenly are churchgoers after a tragedy such as the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. And it is why a person who has enjoyed a satisfying life on the planet apart from any apparent connection with God, now seeks prayer from anyone and everyone after being diagnosed with cancer. And this is why a teenager whose parents are tragically killed in an auto accident now considers for the first time the God-issue and “what comes next.”

The majority of us do not believe that when you die that is it, all over, end of story. Not really. But we have become very skilled, very proficient, at keeping those thoughts buried in the back places of our consciousness, that is, until the reality of a cancer diagnosis suddenly jolts those “back places” to the forefront, and now we are faced with the stark awareness of our mortality.

I am not making light of the tragedies of life but merely referencing the obvious. Most of us live with our attention focused on life on the planet, i.e. what is directly in front of us—planning a birthday party, going to work, paying a bill, remodeling the house, mowing the grass.

We give little thought to the unseen world, unless an event or a set of circumstances upsets our pretend world enough to cause us to look past the temporary nature of this life and consider something more. Those events and circumstances send ripples through our lives, waves of change powerful enough to rattle our perspective that life is lived only in the here and now. Questions about God and life after death bubble to the surface for brief moments, but unfortunately our first response is usually to fend them off and submerge them as quickly as possible.

I really hope you don’t do that. I really hope that you don’t settle for a perspective that disregards such a significant part of the reality of life without at least considering what God might say on the subject. We humans have this uncanny knack for settling for less than what God offers by insisting on our own way, pretending that happiness lies in the next this or that, or that there is no more to life than sixty or seventy years on the planet, and just generally being stupid. I have a lot of experience in that also, but you probably don’t need my help with that one. Smirk.

God offers a life that connects now and forever, a life in which God provides hope, joy and peace beyond human ability or comprehension, and a reality and quality of life above and beyond the pretense and disillusionment of this world. At some point you must come to understand that the truth lies on the other side of pretend.

Would you let me help you with the journey?

Sincerely, David