My step-father, Howard, passed away this morning, and it is just such a strong reminder that we never know when our time is going to come. Who would have thought that complications from a heart surgery that had nothing to do with the heart would take him.
I encouraged my mom the last two days of his life to check with him and get assurance of his salvation. She did, and he said he knew exactly where he was going. Praise God.
That is the assurance we have as Christians. We will see each other again and be with each other for eternity. I am excited about that.
In the end, it is the only decision that truly matters. In the end, God will divide the wheat from the chaff, and the chaff will be thrown in the fire. I makes me sad, because I love lots of wheat and lots of chaff. I know where the wheat is going, and I know where the chaff is going. I can't believe for the chaff, but sometimes I wish I could. I wish they could see and feel what I feel inside.
My son asked me the other day what my favorite verse was in the bible. Wow, how do you narrow that one down! Even at that though, there was a verse that immediately popped into my mind. Weird that it would be the one to be my favorite, but it is such a powerful verse. It is 1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV) which says, "The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
I think if only the nonbeliever could see what I see. If only they could experience having a voice speak to you in prayer that is not your own. If only they could see how God can provide a check for an unexpected bill in the mail. If only they could see how perfectly God fits the pieces of my life together in an intricate tapestry. If only they could see the miracles that God works. If only they could feel God's power which I feel inside then they would know and see that it is real.
We will all stand in God's presence and face the judgement. I don't believe it. It is not an opinion. I know it. It is God's will that no one perish. He wants everyone to know Him and love Him.
It my wish too that no one I love perishes either, but the truth is that some will never accept the love and provision and mercy and saving grace that only Jesus Christ can give. The only thing I can do is to be a light for Him in this world, pray for them, and to be a witness for Christ. I can't make them believe. I wish I could, because in the end the choice to believe or not believe is the most important decision they will every make.
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord', will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father in heaven." Matthew 7:21, NIV