It hasn’t been easy getting online here lately. Internet keeps getting disconnected. I’m trying to think how many blogs I have to make up for.
The grace of eternity is that someday, little misses won’t matter. Memories I forget to write down will be recalled to me, events I forgot to attend will be watched in full.
Or maybe not. The bible says that “God will wipe away every tear from their eyes” in heaven, so I guess there will be no embarrassing moments there. Which is just as well. Can you imagine an eternity of guilt for one slip-up, no matter how major it was down here?
I wonder if that’s what hell will be like. Jesus describes hell as a place “where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” If there are no tears in heaven, there will be a lot in hell. I shudder to think what it would be like to be eternally tortured by should-have-dones and could-have-beens, shouldn’t-haves and why-didn’t-Is.
And to know that there is no more second chance.
I used to love watching Xena: Warrior Princess. One of the people who hated her was Callisto had eaten ambrosia, but could not stand the thought of her failure to destroy Xena throughout her immortal life, and so longed for oblivion.
If only that were true. If only there was such a thing as oblivion instead of hell. Then what we do here on earth, during our physical existence, does not matter.
But no. God created man to be like him, so they can be together. This means there’s a part of man that will live forever, for all eternity.
The question now is where.
Jesus sacrifice on the cross to pay for man’s rebellion and sin against God has opened the way to heaven. It seems too simple and idiotic that all we need to do is to change our proud way of thinking that we can save ourselves, and accept that what Jesus did, he did for us, in our stead. But that’s mercy, and grace. To come before God in full awareness of your unworthiness and inability to save yourself, then you hear Jesus saying:
“I’ve taken the punishment for this precious one, Father.”
And the Father replies: “Innocent!”
That simple? No, it wasn’t simple at all. Jesus still chose to die, to experience what it was like to be a man: physically separated from His beloved Father, feeling forsaken by God because of the awareness of sin. It was something he did not want man to suffer forever, so Jesus bore it for us.
But what about hell? Why create a hell when God wants man to be with him?
Well, Jesus said that hell was created for the devil and his angels. Hell is not for mankind. Mankind was created to spend life with God, both physical and eternal. God made man to love and share himself with.
But God decided to give man a free will. We could choose to be with God or not. Adam’s choice in the garden was to be on his own, rather than be with God. And throughout time, man has been making that choice, sometimes intentionally, sometimes hopelessly.
It is the hopeless, those who want to be with God but knows they can never be worthy, who welcome what Jesus did. Those of us who are aware that nothing we do can ever make us worthy of heaven, realize that because of Jesus, there is nothing more we need to do to be worthy of heaven.
Jesus has done it all. Paid is the true translation of the Greek that is rendered it is finished. It is the word stamped on – across – a bill after full payment.
But what of the proud? Those who don’t want it God’s way (a gift through Jesus) and want it their way (racking up more good deeds against the bad)? Or even those who refuse to acknowledge God’s existence at all?
Does God send them to hell for rejecting him?
No. That’s not God’s nature. The so -called Love chapter in the bible, 1 Corinthians 13, shows what God is like. And he is not one who will send people to hell because they reject him.
But neither will he force his presence on those who don’t want to be with him. God didn’t choose to live in heaven because it was – umm, heaven. Heaven is heaven because God lives there.
Just as hell is hell because God isn’t there.
Because of what Jesus did on the cross, God is not sending anyone to hell. But he will not stop those who don’t want to go to heaven to be with him from going there. He will make it hard to ignore him. He will make sure they will always know they have a choice. He will do what needs to be done in order to win them. In fact, in Jesus, he already has.
But he will not make that choice for them.
In eternity, little misses won’t matter. Missing a blog post, forgetting a birthday or anniversary, not helping your mom with the dishes, lying to your dad about your date, missing that buzzer-beater for the championship…not helping out the children in Africa.
There’s only one miss that will make the difference. Miss that, and you’ll have an eternity to remember, relive, and regret everything else you wish you hadn’t missed.
But if we decide to take that chance and trust Jesus, and let him hold on to us no matter what else we miss…oh what a heaven it will be!!