Some of you have read and followed my blog since the beginning (and I thank you!).
If you remember how it all started, it was during the time that my father-in-law was in the hospital and we weren’t sure if he was going to live. See https://wateringcanblog.com/2012/05/29/may-the-words-of-my-mouth/ AND https://wateringcanblog.com/2012/07/12/lifes-a-puzzle/
This week marks 2 years since he went to heaven, and I can’t help but think of him and the many things he taught us–some of the most powerful lessons coming from his last week as he faced the certainty of death, not the least of which was, how to die with grace.
The certainty of death–it’s always there. We try to ignore it, but the reality is always hovering over us.
“Fallen asleep”, “passed away”, “left us”, “passed over”, “went to heaven”. Of all the terms that we (me included) use to describe this certainty that comes to all of us, “passed away” surely is the saddest. Do people really believe that their love ones just “pass away” and just cease to exist? That’s it? The.End.? I am amazed at how often we are confused, or maybe just blind, to the reality of what happens at death. We can speculate the events immediately following death, basing our information on our own personal brushes with death or stories of others who have claimed to have died, only to be revived. A library of books have been written on the subject of death and heaven, and some more speculation than truth, but the only real source of TRUTH is from God’s Word:
“Your heart must not be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also. You know the way to where I am going.”
“Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?”
Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
Throughout Scripture we see God’s plan for mankind. From the beginning He planned for relationship with His creation. Contrary to popular opinion, we did not just explode onto the earth or evolve from nothing. God created the intricacies of the universe in an intelligent, well-ordered manner. He didn’t just fashion this magnificent creation and leave it to itself. In His infinite knowledge, He ordained a well-orchestrated plan for mankind.
From the moment death entered the world, He provided the means by which we could choose our destiny.
IN HIS HANDS are the pieces to the puzzle that are missing from humanity:
- Fellowship with the Father: Sin separates us from a Holy God (Romans 3:23).
- Remedy for our sin problem: Sin’s consequence is death and the only remedy is a sacrifice (Romans 6:23).
- Victory over death: Jesus becomes the ultimate sacrifice and conquers death (Romans 5:8).
- Reconciliation with our Creator: He reaches out with the missing pieces and asks you to accept them as TRUTH (Romans 10:9-10).
- Hope for Eternity: When we accept this Truth and invite Him to take control of our lives, He fills us with HOPE. (Romans 8)
IN YOUR HAND is the choice to accept this gift He offers.
As we stood around Eldon’s bed the night that he died, we cried, yes–but we also sang songs of praise the One who has given us the hope of eternity. We knew–without a doubt–that Eldon was ready to step from this life into the next. One of his last sentences was, “I look forward to the moment when Jesus puts my hand in the hand of the Father.” His words and his life testified to the fact that it was because of Jesus that he could be assured of a home in heaven. He “set his affairs in order” as he said his good-byes, asked each one to forgive him “if I’ve ever done anything to offend” (of which we were shocked, since we couldn’t think of a thing!), and spoke with each of his grandchildren to make sure they would be reunited with him one day. Because he knew that in a few short hours, his life on earth would end, his focus was intent on those he loved–not himself–which was so characteristic of his life. He wanted us to know that he would be okay. He knew where he was going and was ready!
You can speculate all you want about what happens when we die, but the certainty is that it will find us all, short of Jesus’ return. For believers, our hope is not in our own goodness, but a merciful God who clearly states, “whosoever will may come”. His desire is not that you “do more” to earn your salvation, but that you would put your faith and trust in what Jesus has DONE. Surrendering your life to Him means that you recognize that HE is the only thing that can make your life complete.
If you are one who questions the authenticity of the Bible, the historical and archeological evidence is there if you’re willing to hear it. [See The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel] If you want to start reading the Bible, maybe for the first time or it’s been awhile, I suggest you start in the book of John. You are the only one that can choose. I pray you choose Him today.
“We are not in the land of the living going to the land of the dying. We are in the land of the dying trying to get to the land of the living.” –Larry Moody