Ikuro Teshima

An Island in the Eternal Sea

A movie titled This Island Earth was released years ago (1955). We can compare the earth with an island—a spot floating in the void of the universe in the vast expanse of the sea and suitable for nurturing human beings. Suppose we name this island "Life Island" instead of "Earth." On this island, humans are born. Some live as long as one hundred years—long after coming out of the hidden, mysterious world; others die as infants or young adults.

The place where the everlasting world and Life Island merge is the eternal shore. (See diagram.) Outside the island is the hidden realm before birth and after death. Ultimately, people die and fall into this mysterious eternal realm. All living creatures are born somewhere on the earth, then perish and disappear to somewhere else.

"Before . . . You had formed the earth and the world, Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God" (Psalm 90:2). When humans are born on the earth, they become aware of time. However, the realm before birth, the everlasting world, is under God’s control; His world is hidden from human beings.

What It Means to Live in Eternity

Even if we think with our minds, we appear to know what it means to live in eternity, but really we cannot. Once we recognize the invisible realm, we will know what it means to pray. Hence, the prophet Isaiah said, "Truly You are God, who hide Yourself, O God of Israel, the Savior" (Isaiah 45:15)! Therefore, the Lord Jesus admonished, "When you pray . . . pray to your Father who is in the secret place" (Matthew 6:6).

Discovering the hidden God is our greatest discovery in life.

When Moses was nearing death, he called to the hidden God from the summit of Pisgah and prayed for compassion from this eternal God: "Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations" (Psalm 90:1).

Not only in this world but also in the next, and even before this earth came into being in the great universe, we were already living inside God's bosom. Once we understand in whom we are living, there is no need to be frightened of illness and other adversities. Even when death, the greatest of all fears, approaches us, it ceases to be death for those who know what it is to live in eternity—within God. Hereafter begins the solution to the problem of death. Strong are those who break through death as one period of time and live in eternal life.

I often think that once I depart from this island called Earth and jump into the ocean of eternal love, things will become even more enjoyable. Truly, I wish I could leave this earth and swiftly set sail.

God, Who Sees in the Hidden Place

Psalm 90:1 begins, "Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all gen-erations." Here, "dwelling place" is translated from the Hebrew word maon, meaning "habitation"—a place where one dwells in safety, protected from danger. Indeed! God is eternally love above all love throughout the three realms of time: past, present, and future. We simply travel through these realms embraced in God's eternal love.

True prayer is to pray toward God in "alam (hiding)." Jesus Christ said, "When you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly" (Matthew 6:6). When we pray, why should we pray to the hidden God? Because prayer is truly to shake the invisible hidden realm beyond the limits of time and space.

Offer prayer upon prayer, and pray! Prayer is not begging for something from the dazzling and luring material world or from those who possess power; neither is it to acquire something through demonstrations like those of a labor union. Prayer is to be known by Father God and rewarded by Him who dwells in the hidden place. Waves of prayer moving toward the hidden spiritual realm return to the world of phenomena inhabited by us and inevitably make ripples that cause the phenomenal world to shake.

Therefore, more than anything we must offer prayer upon prayer—and pray! Evil thoughts result in evil, and waves of good thoughts surely result in good phenomena. Prayer brings forth unexpected results before we know it. When we have almost forgotten our prayers and wishes, God remembers and answers them. Don't you think such wonders of prayers are marvelous?

Shake the Everlasting World

If we come to grasp the meaning of "from everlasting to everlasting world," we can live more dynamically because the hidden and mysterious realm creates the visible realm.

As we live in the Lord, the invisible and mysterious realm always responds to our prayers. When we appeal to the invisible realm, God responds to us, resulting in a phenomenon of one form or another. As it is said, "The things which are seen were not made of things which are visible" (Hebrews 11:3). The hidden, inexhaustible world constitutes all of time, space, and material objects. All things emerge from there, be they materials, money, or one's status.

God is much greater than we think. Therefore, unless we possess large-scale thinking that surpasses our common sense and human reasoning, we can neither comprehend the world of God nor pray. Try to make an appeal to the eternal realm. You will be surprised to find how responsively your prayer is answered. The power that pierces from the eternal realm to the phenomenal world causes great activity. Without the cooperation of this supernatural power, one will fail.

Although we say, "I believe in God," we tend to strive for good results within only our own small world. Why don't we try to gain good results by obeying God's great authority, thus shaking the invisible world? Try to shake the mysterious and supernatural world! Your prayers will surely be answered! Conditions will become unexpectedly favorable, and things will materialize for the one who takes action.

Looking up to God's eternal nature, we feel the impermanence of our short lives. We may suffer from misery and loneliness. Life is harsh and yet precious for people who live life based on only the nothingness of death.

I once composed the following tanka:*

Extreme loneliness do I endure. I wish to offer prayer
'Til I have poured out my soul into the twilight sky.

Bearing great loneliness, we offer our prayer to God. Where finitude and infinity intersect, humans feel misery and loneliness. However, the hidden eternal world is truly full of an abundance of love, good will, and power even though it is silent. To be amazed at this great discovery is the culmination of Psalm 90.

* * *

*Tanka, or waka, is a traditional Japanese poem consisting of five verses of 5–7–5–7–7 syllables.

(1956)
(To be continued)

*Click here to “Standing on the Eternal Shore between Life and Death (1)”
*Click here to “Standing on the Eternal Shore between Life and Death (3)”