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Forever in View

Paul David Tripp, author of many books on parenting and counseling, has written a timely book on the perspective of forever from both a biblical and practical perspective. The books is designed to give the readers a longing for eternity with God but also to put in proper perspective the way we should live here on earth. Too often, as Tripp points out the first chapter, we set ourselves up for failure by having unreal expectatios, focusing too much on our self and expecting or asking too much of people (24-25). If we live without eternity in mind, then we on a course for disaster not only personally but spiritually.

In chapter two, Tripp recognizes that we often try to pack eveything into our day, our lives in order that we don't leave any stone unturned (in our dreams, desires and hopes). Yet, we live as if this was the only destination for us. He writes, "He knows that this is a terribly broken world that, in its present state, does not function they way he intended" (34). The present world is marred but sin in such a way that it doesn't function in reflecting the glory of God in proper way. Because we live as if this life is all that matters, we place such lofty expectations upon people, experiences, and relationships that we are often disappointed. Tripp points us to see this present life as preparing for life in the presence of God, not as living like now is our final destination. This book is amazing because Tripp combines examples of people facing difficulties and their lack of an eternal perspective that reflects much of my own thinking. Secondly, he uses the Scriptures to point out the plan of God for his people (the story of God's redemption also).

Parenting is such a great task that I found his wisdom on parenting to invaluable. In one part, Tripp writes, "I have found a series of five questions to be very helpful in stimulating this kind of conversation. What was going on?...What were you thinking and feeling as it was happening?...What did you do in response?... Why did you do it; what were you trying to accomplish?...What was the result?" (150). Often we talk at our kids, telling them what to do, how to behave instead of talking with them (149). These questions I thought were important because using them helps in drawing the child's own understanding of what was going in their rebellion and leading them back to God. When disciplining my own child, I often find that if I bark at her, she only feels disappointed, hurt, and unresponsive. Yet, when I use parts of these questions with her, she sees her action and wants to do right.

The chapter on Forever and Work was the best. I often fall into the trap of seeing work as a necessary evil, but Tripp points us to a more robust biblical and theological picture. "Adam and Eve were designed for work, and they were commisioned by God to work before sin and death ever entered the world" (161). No, work is not inherently bad or evil. Work is actually part of the created order in which we live. Yet, as Tripp points out, since the fall work is painful and toilsome in many ways. Working for God's glory with eternity in mind is part of God's calling for our lives, seeing work not as just another paycheck, but as being made for work.

This book was a marvelous work at getting readers to seek God from an eternal perspective. Even more, Tripp calls his readers in every area of life to forego the destination mentality of life and look at God's fashioning us for a purpose as a preparation for the next life. This is definitely one of those books that I will go back time and time again to think about its wisdom.

Thanks to Zondervan for the the review copy of this book.


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