A few years ago, a forty-year-long international dispute was settled—forever.
Two nations, India and Bangladesh, have quarreled over a tiny island ever since it first appeared. The island was created by the water-born silt of the 1970 Bhora cyclone in the Bay of Bengal. Subsequent cyclones carried more silt in its direction until it grew to nearly 5 ½ square miles (14 square kilometers). India referred to the tiny land mass as New Moore Island. Bangladesh called it South Talpatti.
During the day Indian coast guard vessels would sail to the island and mount their national colors on its soil. But at night the Bangladeshis removed the flags. This continued for years, with each country claiming ownership of the island. The island is actually closer to India, but it lies just east of the center flow of the Hariabhhanga River—the recognized water boundary between India and Bangladesh.
But just recently satellite imagery has confirmed that the fought-over-island is now gone! At high tide, water completely submerges New Moore Island (or South Talpatti). The same forces that created it destroyed it. Erosion from off-shore currents and subsequent cyclones, plus rising sea levels, have all taken their toll on an island that was never higher than six feet above sea level. Nature finally ended the dispute that India and Bangladesh couldn’t resolve themselves. Funny how the thing they fought over so easily slipped away.
We all seek permanence and things that last. But the things of this life—wealth, notoriety, health, beauty, possessions, houses and land—are only temporary. They are as temporary as that island that no longer exists. The Scripture reminds us that “The end of all things is near” and that we should not “love the world or the things that are in the world… for the world is passing away and all its desires; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 Pet. 4:7; 1 John 2:15, 17).
Doesn’t it make perfect sense, then, not to pursue or quarrel over the temporal things of this life? The Scripture says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:16–18).
Dear Father in heaven, help me to live my life with eternity’s values in mind and to give what I cannot keep to gain what I cannot lose. Amen.