“For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.”
We are only on Earth for a short period of time, about 80 years on average, so for that “small moment” God allows us to go through trial and tribulation, heartaches and heart breaks, not to harm us in any way, but to teach, strengthen and sanctify us. We have a very simple task in our short lives to earn his “great mercies”. We grow up enough to make a decision for Christ, we accept Him and then we try to serve Him and turn from sin (to the best of our ability) and avoid sin from that moment on. That's about it. Not too tough, and what do we get in return? We get eternal life in the presence of God and are granted the opportunity to fellowship (have a personal relationship with) God, the almighty creator, sustainer and master of everything. But what does that mean, what does an eternity look like? Well, no one except God knows, but let’s see if I can illustrate it in a feeble human manor.
Let's start with a googolplex. It is a huge number that also needs a little illustration. Okay, so, if you look at the period at the end of this sentence, you will see a dot about 0.5 mm in diameter. If the surface area of that period was covered by a one atom think layer of carbon atoms, it would add up to about 7.5 trillion atoms of carbon, according to Wilson (1991). So, that's a bunch of atoms, more atoms than there are stars in our galaxy, each of which is also made of atoms, but if you took all the atoms in the known universe and added them all up, it still wouldn't equal a googolplex. That's an unimaginable number of atoms even with this little illustration. So, now let's translate those atoms into years. An eternity is infinitely more years than a googolplex worth of years. That would be an unimaginable number of years. So, what does that have to do with the verse from Isaiah?
We have this tiny fragment of time during our life to accept and serve the Lord and even if all we do is accept the Lord and we fail to serve Him we still get accepted into Heaven. That is astounding and unimaginably generous of God. We get an eternity with God in perfect peace, joy, happiness, fulfillment, revelry and usefulness as we live, love, and praise and honor our God, who gave us the ultimate gift, a gift that cannot be compared to any other gift, a gift with such vast generosity that it leaves me dumbfounded in its shear enormity. He gave us his only son, who willingly gave his life for us. The thought of not accepting Christ and serving him just seems ludicrous.
The flip side of this is not accepting Christ, in which case the only peace, joy, happiness, fulfillment, revelry and usefulness you get is what you find here on Earth. Trading an eternity for maybe 100 years...if you're lucky! Wow! After that you are sequestered to Hell for eternity. Oh, but David, doesn't that make God a cruel God, sentencing all those “innocent” people to Hell. No, certainly not! Each person has an opportunity at some point in their life to hear the Gospel message, or seek it out for themselves. If they fail to respond to or seek out the Lord, then they sentence themselves, they condemn themselves, they fail themselves and sequester themselves to Hell. We as humans made in God's image are afforded the awesome opportunity to make decisions of our own free will. The decisions we make have lasting consequences, and ultimately eternal consequences.
Those of us who have chosen to follow the Lord have no excuse to complain. We have trials, tribulations and even persecutions to live through while we are here, mixed in with smatterings of peace, joy, happiness, fulfillment, revelry and usefulness, but it only lasts for a few short years, so why complain? Well, we shouldn't, unless it's righteous complaints, like complaining about the government gradually eroding our rights, or other injustices that permeate our society. Other than that, we should be just filled with joy at the amazing gift God has given those who accept His Son as their Lord, Savior and Redeemer. We are a fallen people in a fallen world, so always being filled with joy is a tall order, but with the leadership of the Holy Spirit, family and friends for support and the vast wisdom in the Bible, we can live a joyful blessed life here, and a perfect life after we pass on to be with the Lord. It just doesn't get any better than that!
Bob Wilson. (1991). Newton. In Carbon Atoms in a Period. Retrieved 7/2/13, from http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/mats05/mats05057.htm.