Over the summer my family and I visited a waterpark while on vacation. I am not a strong swimmer, but I am almost always willing to try something daring. I’m not an adrenaline junky per se but I do love that chilling feeling that pulsates through my body when I am conquering yet another fear. Our first stop at the park was this giant waterslide. There were two. One was for the non-swimmers and the especially scary one was for the more skilled swimmers. We climbed those endless stairs to the top and came to an intersection. I was more excited than my boys, practically jumping in my swimsuit ready to take the plunge. The boys turned towards the long line on the left and I pointed to the right.
“Come over here,” I yelled. “There’s no wait.”
“I think we should take this one,” my nephew said.
My oldest son agreed. I was getting frustrated. I didn’t want them to ruin my high. I needed to get down that slide while I still had the nerve.
“Oh, come on,” I urged them. “I know you are not scared.”
My son was unphased. My nephew tried to get me to read the sign next to the slide, but I ignored him.
“Ok, I’ll meet you at the bottom,” I said with a wave and shimmied down the slide. It was a long thrilling ride down that dark tunnel. I was enjoying myself, my screams echoing throughout the tunnel. Then I saw the light and at the end was a huge pool of water. I was thrust into the water and my body sunk all the way to the bottom.
I tried my little dog paddle moves to bring myself back to the top, but it wasn’t working. All I could do was kick against the hard, chilly water.
I thought to myself, “So, this is how I die.”
I wasn’t afraid. I didn’t panic. It was more of an afterthought. I was at peace with drowning in a pool at a waterpark. The second I stopped kicking a lifeguard yanked me out of the water. He made sure I was ok before returning to his post. I sat there for a minute wondering if I should have been more concerned about what just happened. Thankfully, my family saw nothing. They were busy enjoying the slide I should have taken.
When I told my friends this story, some laughed and quoted the old “Look before you leap” saying. Others were surprised that I didn’t panic while I was under water.
“You thought you were dying, and you weren’t scared at all?”
Don’t get me wrong. I am not suicidal. I don’t want to leave my family. But I know that life here is just for a moment. I know that my real home is in Heaven with the Lord. I know that I have placed my faith in Christ alone. I also know that I have taught my children to trust in Jesus Christ for their salvation.
Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.
2 Corinthians 5:6-9
I’ve already been given a death sentence to leave this mortal body behind. All of us have. Frankly, this gives me comfort. Those of us who are truly saved from our sins are secure from having to face eternity without God.
One of my friends shared with me that she would have completely freaked out in my situation. She told me about a car accident where her car spun out of control and collided with another. She said she screamed Jesus’ name terrified that she was going to die. I asked her what she believed would have happened had she died. The first thing she said was that her family would have been heart-broken. I asked her if she believed she would have gone to Heaven. Her response was “Well yeah, of course! I believe in Jesus! You know that!” Now, I cannot judge her heart or mind but her hesitation made me uncomfortable. It made me think of the people I know who are still trying to “work” their way into Heaven instead of trusting that Jesus has already done all of the work. All we do, is believe in that and share THAT gospel. But so many do not. They are betting on their church attendance, donations and whatever other religious ritual they perform will get them into the eternal home with the Lord.
Beloved, it is just not true. You cannot roll the dice, cross your fingers and hope you hit the jackpot. You cannot guess when it comes to salvation. Are you sure you are going to Heaven? Are you truly willing to bet your eternal life that YOUR works are greater than the cross?
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.
Galatians 2: 20-21
I know that it is not easy to believe in something you cannot see or touch. But dear heart, that is the very definition of faith. God loves you, His creation, His most loved creation, so much that He delivered his Son Jesus Christ to take your place in death. All God asks in return is that you believe. If your heart is receptive, believing is easy. And this good news is the best news to share. We work and share the gospel because we are saved. We work because we are excited about what happens after death. We work because we know that when it is all said and done, the Lord will welcome us home to glory to rewards beyond our imagination. And we that believe want as many people as possible to be there also.
Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
So, beloved, are you sure that you know where your next stop will be?
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
2 Timothy 4:6-8