I was in the hospital last week, for five days. And–I had a blast. I chatted with the nurses and the staff, finding out their stories, laughing and laughing with them. It was a rare social occasion for me.
On the other hand, my family has been very anxious over my health–we’ve had to face my mortality. My daughters cried, my husband was tight faced, my boys were tender.
You see, once death has visited your family, you know–it can visit again. You always know that–but last week was a slap in the face reminder of that.
I have found myself thinking of the words of the Apostle Paul, found in Phillipians 1: 21-25
“For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. But if I live, I can do even more fruitful work for Christ, So I really don’t know which is better. I am torn between two desires: I long to go to be with Christ, which would be even better for me. But for your sakes, it is better that I continue to live. Knowing this, I am convinced that I will remain alive, so I can continue to help all of you grow and experience the joy of your faith.”
I started out the week, wondering if I was going to die, and being actually kind of excited about it–about going to be with Jesus. But as the week progressed, and I came face to face with the pain my death would inflict upon my family– I found myself having conversations with the Lord like this, “Lord, I would like to go home to be with You, but I think it would be better for my family if I stayed, however, You know best–You can see the future, I can’t, so Your will be done.”
As of now–His will is that I live, and stay to be with my family–but I wanted to share with you why I am so sure that I am going to go and be with the Lord when I die.
I am sure because my eternal life does not depend on me–and how good I am–my eternal life depends on Jesus–and how good He is.
“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthiians 5:21
What does that mean? It means in Jesus–an exchange was made—when Jesus died He took my sin and your sin and everyone’s sin, (He could do this because He was God in Human flesh–so with His one death, He could take all our sins upon HImself), and in exchange He gave us His righteousness. So now God sees all who are in Christ as righteous. Isn’t that amazing–God sees us as righteous–because He gave us His righteousness.
“And the testimony is this, God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has eternal life, he who does not have the Son, does not have eternal life. I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may KNOW that you Have eternal life.” 1 John 5:11-13
“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.” John 17:3
When I first read and studied these scriptures–things started to click for me. First–God has given—that is in the past tense—God has already given us eternal life–because when we trusted Jesus to be our Savior–we began a relationship with God the Father, and with Jesus, God’s Son–and that is what eternal life is–it is a relationship with God—that goes on past this life into eternity.
Then I read the reason why this scripture was written—so that we would KNOW we have eternal life—not hope, not dream of, not work for—we may KNOW it!!
God wants us to know that He loves us, and nothing—not even death will separate us from the love He has for us. He wants us to know that He has redeemed us. He has bought us with a great price–the price of Jesus’ death—so that we may have life with Him eternally. I use the word, “may have”, because we each individually need to receive this gift from God. We receive this gift by faith, but prayer is a way to express that faith. I think I said something like this to God: “Lord Jesus I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. Please come into my life and make me the person You want me to be. Thank You for giving me a relationship with you–thank You for giving me eternal life.”
Jesus tells us in Hebrews 13:5 “….I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So once Jesus enters our life, He will never leave, and Jesus doesn’t lie.
Our God loves us with an everlasting love!!! How can we not be excited about being with this God face to face!! I know that someday, we will all die, but death can be something we don’t have to fear, in fact it can be something we eagerly anticipate–as Jesus awaits us!! However, we each have a purpose here in this world–and for now–I hope that purpose of loving others and pointing the way to Jesus will bring us all joy here on this earth.
May We Be Encouraged!!