2005-04-07 - Wake Up Call
Heb 9:27a And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once
This is one place where people who argue between free will and God's sovereignty will do not argue at all. With the exception of those who are taken at the time of the rapture of the church, or those who persevere through the Great Tribulation, we will all die one day. Enoch walked with God and was not - another arguable exception. Out of the billions of individuals who have been born into the human race, a tiny faction will escape this fate of humanity.
I was having dinner with a business associate tonight. He informed me that a mutual professional acquaintance suffered a massive heart attack less than two weeks ago. The likelihood he will recover is not good. My associate made the comment that it was a real wake up call to him. He recounted another story about a friend of his, who was in excellent health. He was found lying where he had been skiing to a lodge in a heap. The alpine ski tracks showed excellent form right up to the point where he was found. He had died very suddenly with little or no warning. My associate's conclusion was this was also a wake up call and that he needed to enjoy the time he has remaining as much as possible. He and his wife love to travel and cycle. Driving home I realized that he was only half right.
There are far worse things this man and his family could do than travel and enjoy the world that God has created. There are wonderful places and things to do, and they should be taken in, if possible. But we must also prepare for that day we will meet the Lord Jesus face-to-face. Death is not one of those things we, as a culture, are comfortable with discussing. It has been made an enemy. It is very nearly a taboo topic. We work to look and feel younger as if we could cheat death in the end. I will not disparage the benefits of exercise and diet, etc. But death is only an enemy if we have reason to fear it.
It is understandable to fear of the unknown. Very few have ever come near to death and survived. But we who know Jesus as Savior know He waits for us on the other side of the curtain that separates this life from the next. God has promised those who will follow Him eternal life with Him in Heaven. This body and this world are the only homes we have known, but both are temporary and temporal. We have been given a promise of something beyond our imagination where the streets are literally paved with gold so pure it is as transparent as glass. There will be no sickness or death. And every tear will be dried.
We have this hope. It's not a hope like, I hope this happens. The hope is more akin to, "I hope it happens soon!" It is as sure as if it were already a present reality. The price of admission: a little humility. We have to admit that we are not perfect and can not be perfect, which is the requirement to enter this paradise. Once we pass through that curtain, the decision will have been made for eternity for good or for ill. It's not about being "good enough". It is beyond our ability to be perfect. We must be perfected. Jesus came and paid the price of our sins and failures. In exchange for the stained and tattered pieces of our imperfect lives, He will willingly exchange His perfect life. In doing this, He opens the door to eternity with Him. The price is to honestly admit what is painfully true, to lose what we can not keep, in our old lives, and receive what we can not lose, His promised eternal redemption. That final appointment is made by God, not us. Be ready. This is the wake up call.
John 1:12-13 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.