Vale of TearsKnowing God
Christianity has not been tried and found wanting,
it has been found hard and left untried.
When grief overtakes us, the smattering of wise sayings and psychological truisms most of us have picked up here and there are rarely enough to sustain our souls. Surely it is not so much good advice that we need as a living relationship with the Lord Jesus, who is Lord of this world and the next.
The writer of the Letter to the Hebrew Christians asks a question that virtually every man and woman who has ever lived has asked at one time or another: What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that You should care for him (Hebrews 2:5)? The remarkable answer is that we are God’s highest creation, and His crowning achievement. He has made us only a little lower than the angels, and capable of achieving extraordinary exploits.
The fact that He is mindful of us means that He is always thinking about what He can do to help and care for us. He wants to share the riches of His presence, and the purposes of His Kingdom with us.1
Since ninety-nine per cent of our life lies ahead of us in eternity, surely our time on Earth is essential preparation for this? It takes courage to make the first all-important step to open our hearts to the Lord, and to embark on this relationship, but also many repeated choices and decisions whenever we are tempted to turn back and trust in our own resources.
If failing to attend to our financial matters can make life difficult for survivors, how much more important is it for us to consider the fate of our eternal soul? The teaching of Scripture is clear: Heaven is reserved for those who consciously respond to God’s generous offer of eternal life through Jesus Christ, and who seek to make Him Lord of their lives.
If we have been mentally putting off any thought of getting right with God until our final hours, we are forgetting that there is no guarantee that we will be in any mental or physical condition at that most intense of times to make such a choice coherently. God has not placed us here on Earth to scrape a pass into Heaven at the last minute – He wants us to live each day in vital union with Himself.2
We are not used to considering such things however. Whereas life after death was a major preoccupation in previous generations, ours is more concerned with finding meaning and direction, relationships that satisfy and overcoming boredom at all costs. This is precisely what Jesus offers. At the same time He promises that those who receive His saving grace in this life will have resurrected bodies in the next, and will no longer be confined to their present physical and spiritual limitations.
If no one has explained to you what it means to open your heart to His love in this way – or fear and grief have held you back from embarking on such a relationship, may I urge you to invite Christ into your heart? Don’t let your present pain or confusion keep you from the Lord who wants to share His Heaven with you!
Reflect and Pray
You did not die on the cross to leave us uncertain
of Your goodness towards us –
or for us to remain at a safe distance from You.
You want to be fully involved in our lives.
I want to respond to You now
by bringing as much of myself as I can
to as much of You as I understand.
Forgive my many sins and make me Your child.
May I have the joy of serving You
and may You have the joy of leading me –
all the days of this life,
and on into eternity.
In Your Name, I pray, Amen.
1 Study passages such as John 3:18, 5:24; cf 1Thess 4:13-14; 2 Thess. 1:8-10, 1 Corinthians 15:20, 2 Corinthians 5:1-5, and let their truth direct your days.
2 See, for example, Man Alive, by Michael Green, Inter-Varsity Press (1967) and Who Moved the Stone? (2006) by Frank Morrison, Authentic Media – useful books that examine the historical facts concerning the central tenets of our faith.