I’m a firm believer I will be ready to let go of all earthly things, as God draws me closer and closer to heaven; barring of course, any accidental death which would take my life in a second. My desire to learn more about Heaven grows stronger with each passing day. Even stronger, is my need to share with others “this life is not all there is; there is life-after-death”. My thoughts drift at the oddest times and I wonder if I’m ready for what lies ahead for me, for all of us. Death comes to everyone. I used to fill with fear at the thought of dying. But, no longer, well almost. I’m finding an unexplained peace with death.
The process of dying, however, still unnerves me a wee bit. I won’t know how I will die until my time arrives. Will my death come as the result of a serious and debilitating illness, a sudden tragedy, or something equally awful? Or, will I go to sleep and awake on the other side of life? Perhaps, God is beginning the process of drawing me near to him. Or, maybe I’ve finally reached a spiritual growth marker where I contemplate the eternal more than the earthly. Only God knows the why. What I do know …. I know I feel a deep heavy burden for my family, for friends and those I interact with daily, who do not know Jesus loves them.
I asked some of my family and friends, believers and nonbelievers, to describe what they imagine Heaven’s like. I’ve enjoyed reading the responses. A couple responses burdened me deeply. The gist of their response, “I no longer believe in Heaven. I used too. I don’t anymore. In fact, I don’t believe there is a God. I believe you are born, you live, and you die – nothing more, nothing less”.
Thomas and Sara (fictitious personalities) are not alone in their belief; many share this same opinion. They like many others have become disillusioned, disappointed and overwhelmed by the tragedies of life. They’ve lost hope. To believe in nothing is better than to believe in a God who lets you down; who does not come through as you think He should. They question “Where is God when it hurts? If God is a just and loving God then how can He let my husband, my wife, or my child die? I prayed for my illness to be taken away; but He didn’t care – he doesn’t care! I prayed to not lose my home, my job, my body part, yet I did. A loving God would not let ______________ (you fill in the blank) happen. Because bad things do happen to good people and life isn’t making sense, the only conclusion they can see …. there cannot be a God.
Expecting things to go our way and/or asking for a sign is not new. In Christ’s time on earth people wanted to see signs to believe too. God’s reply to their desire to see, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and a sign will not be given it, except the sign of Jonah…” Matthew 16:4 Many signs and wonders were performed in front of multitudes by Jesus and yet, only a few believed. If seeing would bring about belief, many more folks would be believers in Jesus today.
God’s word states, “For false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect.” Mark 13:22 Satan is much more likely to use the attraction of the supernatural. He comes as an angel of light (imitating God) to draw you to himself. But he is the world’s best deceiver. We need to be careful in looking for supernatural signs as proof of God’s working in our life. The burning bush was a one-time event. Yet many continue to seek the burning bush experience. When we are busy looking for the miraculous and the supernatural we miss the everyday. God is in the small whisper, the quiet voice. God is in the everyday circumstances which “just seem” to come out okay. God is in the box as well as the mansion.
Yep, I said box. For example we find ourselves unexpectedly homeless. We pray for immediate protection from the elements and God provides. We are expecting a house with 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, etc. God may provide a simple box with an outdoor restroom close by and a friendly neighbor who knows the ropes. Our prayer for immediate shelter was answered but not in the way we wanted or expected. Sadly, many will turn away believing God is not there for them. They don’t realize God’s put them in the best place for them, at this moment in their life. The friendly neighbor will show them how to walk the path to get back on their feet. He will help them find assistance, employment, food for their table etc. All this and a dose of encouragement for each new day along the way. All these things, eventually, lead to the 4 bedroom, 2-bath home desired and prayed for.
I don’t know the answer for my friends Thomas and Sara. I do know they’ve spent too much time looking in the wrong places. Dabbling in New Age philosophy, the Occult world and the Earthly world of self-reliance has not given them what they seek. Their answer lies in God. I’m at a loss for words to share. My heart hurts for my friends. Imagine how much more God’s heart must hurt for Abe, Sara, and others like them. I will continue to pray for my friends and those who’ve lost hope. For hope is not lost its found in the Lord Jesus Christ. God will reveal himself, if they only ask. Once asked… watch for Him… bearing in mind God is found in the everyday, in the small quiet whisper and in the box as well as the mansion.
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish…” 2nd Peter 3:9
“Even Satan can disguise himself to look like an angel of light!” 2 Corinthians 11:14