Sunday, October 24, 2010
My Only Hope
It's go time for me. Before dawn on Tuesday morning, Rod and I will head over to the hospital and by sunrise I should be under the prescriptive spell of some kind of narcotic dripping into my veins.
If I had only a question mark hanging over my head as to whether or not I will "make it" out of surgery, I would probably be a nervous wreck right now. But, I have Hope. The Only Hope that anyone needs. My Hope is found in the faith I have that Jesus Christ, God's only Son, was sent from Heaven to enter into flesh and live and die and rise again as the Son of Man. He taught us how to live and how to love. He taught us how to get Home. He promised there was a Home to go to, once this life is over. He carved the path Home for anyone who will believe. Anyone: you, me, any one who will, may come. He proved His sovereignty over sin, hell, death and the grave when, after He allowed Himself to be crucified on a cross for crimes He did not commit, He rose from the grave three days later...just as He promised He would. His resurrection is my Hope.
The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses me from all sin. I did something really profound and yet simple. I realized I am a sinner. I no longer wanted to bear the guilt of my life choices. I had so many things to be guilty over: abortions (2), adultery, lying, stealing, coveting, dishonoring God and my parents, and all these things weighed on me heavily for thirty-four years. I searched for God in all the wrong places. I got so close but was still so far away.
One afternoon I heard the man I had been married to for three years tell my eight year old daughter, his stepdaughter, she was a sinner and needed a Savior. He told that little girl that Jesus is the Only One Who could be anyone's Savior because He did not have His own sin to pay for. He came, sinless. He lived, sinless. He died, sinless, until He Who knew no sin, BECAME sin for us who would believe in Him. I heard my husband, an alcoholic and an addict at that time, tell my little girl the Good News of a risen Savior Who makes His people whole. God the Father through the death, burial and resurrection of His ONLY begotten Son, offers forgiveness of sins for any who believe on His name.
The Amplified Bible defines "believe" as TRUST IN, CLING TO, and RELY UPON.
That afternoon my little girl waved her stepdaddy off. But, I sank to my knees in total recognition that I needed Jesus. I wanted Jesus. I wanted to stop running from Him and run to Him. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Me." John 14:6
Let's talk eternal life for a minute. Yesterday my (now) sixteen year old daughter begged me to take her to the mall. I had a small hissy fit in the car and finally agreed, knowing this would be our last outing together for awhile. As we wandered through the mall I FELT the absolute spiritual vacuum that is there: the celebration of the world. What a tragedy. What a hoax. What a lie. Like a stage prop, the whole mall is set on display, wooing a lost and dying world into thinking there is anything offered there that will make that aching void go away. There was only one place where Hope was offered at the mall. It is located in Barnes and Noble on the second floor, nestled victoriously between books on Buddhism and Islam. The Holy Bible, God's Word, is the Only Hope the mall has to offer. It is the only proffering they sell that will lead a soul to satisfaction. I wonder if anyone found it yesterday.
So, what about that eternal life? What does the Bible really tell us about it? John the Baptizer, Jesus' cousin, said, "He has come from above and is greater than anyone else. I am of the earth, and my understanding is limited to the things of earth, but He has come from Heaven. He tells what He has seen and heard, but how few believe what He tells them! Those who believe Him discover that God is true. For He is sent by God. He speaks God's words, for God's Spirit is upon Him without measure or limit. The Father loves His Son, and He has given Him authority over everything. And all who believe in God's Son have eternal life. Those who don't obey the Son will never experience eternal life, but the wrath of God remains upon them." John 3:31-36 NLT
Jesus said, "I assure you, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent Me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life." John 5:24 NLT
And He said this too, "But you shouldn't be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that I, the Son of Man, can give you. For God the Father has sent me for that very purpose."
They replied, "What does God want us to do?"
Jesus told them, "This is what God wants you to do: Believe in the One He has sent." John 6:27-29 NLT
And He goes on, "And this is the will of God, that I should not lose even one of all those He has given Me, but that I should raise them to eternal life at the last day. For it is my Father's will that all who see His Son and believe in Him should have eternal life--that I should raise them at the last day." John 6:39-40 NLT
I'm feeling a theme here, are you?
Jesus said, "I assure you, anyone who believes in Me already has eternal life." John 6:47 NLT
A warning from Jesus, "Then He said to them, "You are from below; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not. That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am who I say I am, you will die in your sins." John 8:23-24 NLT)
Jesus' friend, Martha, was grieving. I suspect she and her sister Mary were a little angry with the Lord, too. After all, He was given the heads up that their brother Lazarus was deathly ill. Jesus didn't show up until after Lazarus was dead four days. Both sisters, independently of each other, said to Him, "If you would have been here, Lazarus would not have died."
Jesus' answer, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in Me, even though they die like everyone else, will live again. They are given eternal life for believing in Me and will never perish." John 11:25-26a NLT
He asks Martha the most important question God can ever ask, "Do you believe this, Martha?" v.26b
Well, do you? It is the single most important question God asks living souls.
At the end of His earthly life, Jesus prayed for me. He did. He prayed for you, too. Did you know that?
"When Jesus had finished saying all these things, He looked up to Heaven and said, "Father, the time has come. Glorify Your Son so He can give glory back to You. For You have given Him authority over everyone in all the earth. He gives eternal life to each one You have given him. And this is the way to have eternal life -- to know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the One You sent to earth." John 17:1-3 NLT
After His resurrection, Jesus talked about me again. Me! (and you!)
Then He said to Thomas, "Put your finger here and see my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don't be faithless any longer. Believe!"
"My Lord and my God!", Thomas exclaimed.
Then Jesus told him, "You believe because you have seen Me. Blessed are those who haven't seen Me and believe anyway." John 20:27-29 NLT
The twentieth chapter in the Gospel of John ends with these words:
"Jesus' disciples saw Him do many other miraculous signs besides the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in Him you will have life."
In the midst of the anxiety that should be what I am carrying around leading up to surgery and two weeks of bed rest, two more weeks of no cooking or housekeeping and two more of reduced activity for a very active wife and mother...I carry the peace of God that passes all understanding because I believe Jesus is Who He says He is. According to Him, eternal life is ALREADY mine. I know, no matter what happens on Tuesday, where I am going. Do you?