My husband has a nodule on his thyroid that we now have to monitor once a year, to check for growth or changes. This usually involves getting a test done, which he got done not long ago. Expecting the results quickly so we could confirm all was well (and it was), we were puzzled that it took almost a month for the clinic to schedule a follow up appointment. Once at the appointment we inquired about the length of time it took and were sad to learn that the Technician who had performed the test had died suddenly, possibly the very day we had seen him last.
The Technician was a vibrant young man who appeared to have it all together, everything seemed to be going his way. He had an easy-going personality and was very jovial. He was bragging on some recent purchases he had made and what good deals he had gotten. Thinking about him, I could not help but think how fragile life really is and how none of us are guaranteed even the next breath we take. It was hard to imagine we would never see him again here on this earth. Almost all of us can relate a story of a friend or loved one or someone we know who was here one day and gone the next, having died suddenly. The one question all of us ask at one time or another is “what happens when I die”?
Every human being is appointed to die once, and then to face God’s judgment.
That is a verse taken from the bible, from the book of Hebrews, chapter 9, verse 27. I’ve heard many accounts of people who had an experience where they clinically died and heard God directly tell them it was not yet their time, and they came back. All that confirms to me is that every day we are alive on this earth is ordained by God for each one of us to live (see Psalms 139:13-16), which equally means that there is also a day appointed by God for us to die, whether we believe in that sort of thing or not.
The second part of Hebrews 9:27 talks about facing judgement. Immediate judgement. I know a lot of people who have been persuaded to think they will slide into hell with a margarita in hand and join the biggest party there ever was, and they somehow can’t wait to be there. Or maybe the opposite, thinking this life is all there is and death is final. Eternity is a long time. Are you sure you’re willing to risk it?
I know others who may think one day, when they are older, they will settle down and get religion like their parents or grandparents. Perhaps even our Technician thought that at one time or another, we didn’t know him well enough to know what he might have believed.
There are those, still, who may think that God is a universal, loving God who would never send anyone to hell, leaving you to wonder why they choose to believe hell even exists then in the first place. Or, perhaps they believe they are good people at heart and have never really harmed anyone, having contributed to charities or attended church now and then, you know how it goes, hoping somehow that their “goodness” outweighs the bad/evil by an acceptable enough margin.
I have a secret for you that even a lot of bible readers don’t always think about. Have you ever heard of the tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden that Adam and Eve ate the fruit from? That tree had a name, do you remember it? It was called “The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil”. Have you ever wondered why it was called that? If you think about it, the title lends us to the truth that both good and evil come from the same root. That in turn means it is neither goodness that saves you nor is it necessarily evil that condemns you.
Wow, did I just say that for real? Yes, I just said that for real! You may be asking if sin is what condemns us, what exactly is sin, then, if it is not evil? Sin, at the very heart, is the rejection of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, and of the blood he shed on the cross in order to reconcile you back to God the Father. Every other thing God classifies as sin is forgivable, but that one is unforgivable. This means without accepting His free and wonderful gift, you condemn your own self to hell, which is a place of separation from God as well as from others. Forever isolated in a place where there is no life, no light, no love, and no more chances for redemption. It is truly a place of torment.
There is created within each soul a place where God once lived, a place that was ripped from us when Adam and Eve ate the fruit. What was left behind when that happened was a hole that only God Himself can fill. I tried dozens of things to fill that hole. Parties, clubs, a variety of thrills, thinking somehow all of that equated to what life was all about. But no matter what the party or activity, I always came back with the same feeling of emptiness that I left with. Why? Because it wouldn’t have mattered if I had tried everything there ever was, there is only One who can satisfy the longing I was not even willing to admit sometimes I had, and one I certainly never realized was so vast.
Jesus died to redeem our souls not only from the curse of the fall, but to reconcile you and I to the only perfect Father there is or ever will be. He represents the other tree mentioned in the garden, which is the tree of life. When you accept His free gift of salvation, He comes into your heart and abides with you, gives you life, and fills you with purpose. In Christ is life, whether you are living in this present world or have died and gone on to the next. Without Christ is death, no matter if you are walking around in this present world or have passed on to the next. Won’t you accept His free gift today?
Lord, I believe! Whatever you have for me, I want it! I want to know the purpose I was ordained to live this life for. I want to know you as my Savior! Won’t you please come into my heart, into my life, this moment? I don’t want to die not knowing You or rejecting the gift You have given me, which is Your death on the cross – You died once, and You rose from the dead so that spiritually I could too, and that I could live forever with You, and with the Father, in heaven. Thank you for that gift!