“When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8b.
I hope the title of this week’s post didn’t cause alarm. I’m guessing readers will have one of two reactions:
Some will roll their eyes and conclude, “She’s hysterical.”
Others will respond, “Duh.”
If I maybe Captain Obvious for a moment:
Life is finite.
While some people are panicking over toilet paper, hand sanitizers, and food supplies, the debate rages over whether the Corona virus is a major threat or political hype.
People like my husband Marty, a research engineer, are using reason and math, comparing statistics from past epidemics and graphs of countries where the virus has hit its peak and is starting to decline. For the record, he isn’t panicking. We are keeping our hands clean as much as possible. But then, we always have.
People like me are looking at the cancellations and making plans to spend more time at home, catching up on reading, writing, and relaxing with Marty and Netflix. Sunday morning church will be live streamed, and my friends and I will keep in touch via technology. So far I have no complaints.
The other day someone was saying, “One good outcome of this Corona virus is that people are becoming more aware …”
In the split second before he finished the sentence these thoughts went careening through my mind at the speed of light:
… becoming more aware of their mortality. Like it or not, each of us is going to die. As much as we avoid thinking about it, life will end for every one of us. Then what? We do so much planning for this split-second life on earth, we need to plan for eternity.
This is what I was hoping he was going to say. But to my disappointment, the rest of the sentence was “… aware of hand washing and other ways of preventing the spread of disease.”
Well, that, too, I thought with a sigh.
But let’s get back to my point. Please.
When I was teaching a Sunday school class based on my book, BARRIERS (So, if prayers are so powerful, how come mine don’t get answered?), I was teaching on priorities – the fact that we often pray for things that are relatively unimportant while neglecting the things that are crucial from an eternal perspective.
I set a jar of sand on the podium. Taking one grain on the tip of my finger, I pointed out that it was pretty small compared with the whole jar of sand, very small compared to the beach where I had scooped it up that morning. Then I asked the class to consider how small it was compared with all the sand that exists on this planet – beaches, sand dunes, Sahara Desert, bottom of the ocean … ! The thought was mind-boggling.
“But,” I continued, “that grain of sand compared with all the sand in the world is still bigger than this life compared with eternity.”
I paused to let that fact sink in.
“So … where are we focusing most of our attention?”
I’m not suggesting we be “so heavenly minded we’re no earthly good.” Looking forward to getting this life over with and getting our rewards is the wrong way to think about eternity. So is the selfish hoarding of resources so we can survive longer than everybody else. It’s not setting dates, shutting down life, and waiting on some mountain for the Lord’s return.
Jesus made it very clear, when He returns He wants to find faith in us, exhibited in our diligently serving Him. We serve Him by being like Him, by letting His spirit work through us by loving others. This is not neglecting the present life, but living it to the full.
Meanwhile, people are scared, especially people who until now have given eternity little or no thought. Coming face-to-face with our own mortality isn’t fun, but it’s necessary. The Corona virus can serve as a wake-up call to get us to realize our time here is limited! We don’t do ourselves any favors by ignoring that inconvenient fact. The worst thing that can happen to us isn’t dying of the Corona virus, it’s dying without being prepared.
So, how do we prepare for the eventual, inevitable encounter with eternity?
The first thing to do is acknowledge that God is God and we aren’t. Our sin has separated us from Him, keeping us from heaven. (Imperfect people would corrupt a perfect heaven.) The solution to our sins isn’t doing enough good works to make up for them – that’s impossible. We need to be forgiven and cleansed. Jesus Christ, God’s Son, paid the price for our forgiveness by dying on the cross.
Stop trying to hide from Him. Come to Him, admitting that you are a sinner and can’t make it on your own.
Acknowledge Jesus as your Savior. Ask Him to come into your life, changing you and conforming you to His image.
Then believe it, thank Him for saving you, and ask His Spirit to fill you and guide you in living the Christian life.
You are going to die. I am going to die. I can’t tell you whether it will be two weeks from now from the Corona virus, twenty years from now of cancer, or this afternoon in a car crash. I can tell you there’s nothing to be gained from avoiding the issue, distracting yourself by making survival preparations, or hunkering down in your home. You can’t hide from God.
The good news is, you don’t need to! He loves you enough to die for you. He is risen and is waiting to give you new life. Come to Him today.