Over the past few days it has been announced that Australia has a new National Park. Everlasting Swamp is to become 1,700 hectares of conserved wetlands in Maclean on the Far North Coast of New South Wales (More info: ABC). The announcement comes just as environmentalists from around the world meet in Sydney at the IUCN World Parks Congress. Good timing, no?

As I listened to a broadcast this morning about the creation of the new National Park in my little corner of the world, I thought about the interesting name choice- ‘Everlasting Swamp’. In researching, I have found little information about the choice of name, though have learnt that there is a small flower commonly known as ‘Swamp Everlasting‘ that is found in southern areas of Australia. It makes one think- will calling this new National Park the “Everlasting Swamp” guarantee its perpetual success? What in our world really is everlasting?

Everlasting God

The Bible claims that God is Everlasting. In Isaiah 40:28-31 we read,

Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

In these verses the prophet Isaiah juxtaposes God’s everlasting energy and nature to that of the frailty and tiredness of man. Even youths, with what sometimes appears to be boundless energy, all get weary. But our God is truly everlasting.

God’s Everlasting Word

God’s Word is also everlasting. Isaiah writes again,

The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the Lord blows on it; surely the people are grass. The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. (Isaiah 40:7-8).

Here, even the flowers fade when God’s breath touches them, yet God’s Word is eternal and everlasting. His Word is truth, a solid foundation to our frail life. We can be confident in  the Word of God and know that it will also remain. 

Man’s Response

As we recognise that God and His Word are the only truly everlasting things, may we respond with awe and reverence. Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, wrote, “I perceived that whatever God does endures forever, nothing can be added to it, nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before him.” (Ecclesiastes 3:14). This fear Solomon talks of is a recognition that we are but a vapour, here one day and gone the next and so our response must be to bow our knee in humility before the One who is Everlasting. 

Solomon concludes his quest for meaning, “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (Ecclesiastes 3:14) May we take time today to see that “like a flower we will pass away” (James 1:10). One day, everything we spend our life pursuing will be brought before the throne of the Everlasting One (Hebrews 9:27-28). Let us spend the days we have pursuing God with awe for He is everlasting and with humility for we are not. No matter what the name, our local swamp, nor any man or flower, will truly be Everlasting. 

photo credit: JefferyTurner via photopin cc