Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” James 4:13-15
Life is short. That’s not an astounding revelation to anyone, but when events occur such as those at the Boston Marathon on Monday, life’s fragility is driven home. Eight-year-old Martin Richard died in the bombings, his mother is in the hospital with a head injury, and his sister lost her leg. For the father, his joy of cheering friends in the marathon quickly turned into his worst nightmare of death and destruction most of us will only ever witness on television. They were just part of the story of the 170+ people injured or killed.
My prayers have been going up for these folks, as I’m sure yours have, as well.
Author Rose Wilder Lane once remarked that even the longest lives are short. The eternal call will come for all of us one day, whether we’re ready for it or not. But there’s the rub. Why wouldn’t anybody be ready? Have you ever known anybody to live forever? Yet many people, especially Americans, live in denial about death.
How many times have you heard someone say they wouldn’t write a will or buy life insurance because it’s bad luck?
Or they’ll get around to dealing with the issue of the afterlife when they get older. Right now, they just wanna have fun.
I remember hearing Terri Irwin, widow of wildlife activist Steve Irwin, comment that she’d wake up sometimes in the middle of the night when he was alive and find him poring over paperwork and future plans because he believed he would die young. He lived with urgency. Ironically, he always imagined a car accident taking him out. That was his worst nightmare—not death by an animal, which seemed more likely to those who watched him on television. But my point is he planned for his family’s future, and hopefully for himself, in the event of his death.
Planning for your loved ones is important. Showing your love and never taking their existence for granted is equally important. Even Jesus made provision for his mother’s future. In John 19:27, Jesus spoke to his disciple John from the cross and said, “Here is your mother.” The Bible tells us John took her into his home from that moment on.
But there’s something even more important when considering your mortality. Eternity is the last thing you want to leave to chance.
My weekly blog posts are written with the belief and from the perspective that most of my readers, e-mail subscribers, and followers are Christians. I offer Biblical encouragement to help you through this earthly journey and the trials you encounter. However, this week, I’m going to take a few minutes to encourage those who haven’t embraced the notion of an afterlife—good or bad—heaven or hell.
The Bible through Jesus’ earthly ministry makes it clear he is the only way to God and heaven.
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
God does not want anyone to perish. He provided a simple, though costly, way for us to come to Him without the penalty of sin because it has been paid through Jesus’ sacrifice.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. John 3:17
Mankind has proven time and again through our fallen nature the only way we can come into God’s holy presence and be acceptable in His sight is through His grace. Grace born on the cross two thousand years ago.
For Christ did not enter a sanctuary made with human hands that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence. Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. Hebrews 9:24-28
What a glorious expression of God’s love for us!
If you’ve not done so, will you spend a few moments today in prayer to seriously consider your eternal future?
If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:9-10
I’d love to hear from you if you make this decision. J
If you have a prayer request or praise report, please share in the comments below or e-mail me confidential requests. New requests for this week include:
A classmate from high school, Bonnie, is battling breast cancer.
My great-nephew, Jack, was recently diagnosed with Perthes disease.
Please pray for their comfort, healing, and strength, as well as for their families. Continue to lift up the Boston victims and their families as they struggle through the process of healing, rehab, and for some, grief.
©Laura Hodges Poole