What Comes After – hope and the International Day of the Girl

[My daughter is hasn’t been a girl for years, but today is International Day of the Girl so I offer this post from the archives. And if you substitute Cru in San Diego for Disneyland and a Master’s in Social Work for Fuller, you’ll have a picture of what she did next after returning.]

***

“Did you hear my plan for when I get back next year?”

I plopped a piece of sushi into my mouth and shook my head no.

Maybe next year that'll be our daughter (Source)

Maybe next year that’ll be our daughter

(Source)

“I’ll apply for a job at Disneyland as either Pocahontas or Jasmine and go to Fuller Seminary.”

“That’s a great plan,” I said around the semi-masticated fish and rice.

This combines two loves my daughter, son, wife and I all share: Disney and studying the Bible. So our family’s dinner conversation followed along.

My son and I began mapping out the best route from Pasadena to Anaheim and back, while my wife and daughter discussed the relative merits of getting an apartment nearer one or the other.

And all of us, of course, wanted to know if this meant free passes to The Happiest Place On Earth.

But in the meantime there’s Asia.

Asia, NGOs, and Disadvantaged Women

That dinner at our favorite sushi place two nights ago was our last meal together as a family for a while. The next morning, yesterday morning, we drove to the airport and dropped our daughter off at the curb with two very heavily packed suitcases and some tight hugs.

“Bye.”

“Love you.”

“Have adventures.”

“Love you.”

“Love you.”

“Bye.”

Our daughter will be there somewhere (Wikipedia)

Our daughter will be there somewhere

(Wikipedia)

And in she went to check her bags. She’s spending the year in Asia with a non-governmental organization, an NGO. We don’t say where because she’s going to a sensitive area and it’s best not to give details of the NGO work going on there.

I can say that she will be pursuing the work God has placed on her heart for years: reaching women in difficult situations, whether in underdeveloped areas such as where she’s going now or women who face other disadvantages. This job will last a year, and then she’ll figure out what’s next.

Apparently that might include Fuller and Disneyland.

Future Focused

Our minds are constantly on the future. As the writer of Ecclesiastes tells us:

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.)

Everything is beautiful in the right time, but we also have a future time we look to at all times. This truth hit me right as our daughter was telling us about seminary and Disneyland.

I had been focusing on all that was going on in getting her off for the next year overseas, not looking beyond except recognizing that at some point she’d be returning. I know that’s only a year away but the end point seemed unformed to me, ill-defined and ungraspable.

Then she talked about what happens after. She gave it a form and definition I could grasp. Whether she does go to Fuller and gets a job as a Disney character is beside the point. After all, a year is a long time and anything can happen. The point is that there is a future that we can talk about and look forward to.

What Comes After

It’s like that with God and eternity. Eternity is in our hearts for a reason. God desires us to have in mind what comes after, what comes next, what is going to meet us as we travel the road he’s given us.

Yet the reason we can focus on eternity is because the God of all eternity is with us right here and right now. The passage goes on to tell us:

I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. (Ecclesiastes 3:12-14.)

It is good to enjoy where God has us now as we consider the eternity he has placed in our hearts.

After all, everything from God endures forever.

***

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