You can thank God for tomorrow

I love the story about the father who was planning an exciting trip to take his son on the next day. “What are we going to do, Dad?” the boy asked. The father said, “I’m not going to tell you now; it will be a surprise.” The boy was very excited because he knew three things for sure. He knew his father would never lie to him. He knew that whatever they did the next day didn’t matter; what was most exciting was that he would be doing it with his dad. And he knew that the father would keep him safe, whatever they did and wherever they went. So that evening, as the father was putting his son to bed, the boy hugged his father’s neck and said, “Daddy, thank you for tomorrow.”

I am just starting to preach through the book of Titus, one of Paul’s letters to a young pastor whom he had left on the island of Crete. In Paul’s greeting to Titus, he spoke of the “hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began, and at the proper time, manifested in His word.”

I see three important things we can learn from this passage about eternal life. First, it was promised by God before the ages began. This means we have to look at eternal life only through God’s Word, not through the imaginations of men. We know “heaven is a real place” because of what God has chosen to reveal to us in His Word. The rest is mystery, and will only be revealed when one who knows God, through Jesus Christ, dies and enters its fullness. Second, we know the God who promised eternal life to His own never lies. He cannot. A Sunday School teacher told his class he would give each of them a piece of gum if they could tell him something God can do. A 10-year-old boy piped up and said, “I’ll give you a whole pack of gum if you tell me something God can’t do!” Well, God cannot lie, and that is great news for us. Third, eternal life was manifested, or revealed, brought into the open, at the proper time. Everything happens in God’s time, including our salvation.

Last week, we spent an hour with Jaime, a Bocachican fisherman with whom we have developed a relationship over several trips to the island off the coast of Cartagena. He told me several years ago that he would become a Christian when he turned 50. I told him he might not make it to 50. He smiled and responded that he would make it, and he would then become a Christian. He is now 52. As we have done before, we pleaded with Jaime to be reconciled with God, to receive the redemption for sins that is available only through Jesus’ blood. He wouldn’t. Does that mean he never will? It might. We cannot say, “Oh, it’s just a matter of time and God will save Jaime.” I have been guilty of saying that myself, something like, “Oh, that young man has a godly grandmother praying for him; he doesn’t stand a chance.” We don’t know that. But what we do know is that God is sovereign, and if Jaime is to be saved, God will save him at the proper time.

How about you? Do you have the hope of eternal life through a relationship with Jesus Christ? If you do, you are able to say every day to God, “Daddy, thank you for tomorrow!”