“After the airplane crashed, the 48 survivors found themselves on an isolated island of harsh terrain, cruel weather, and deep dark secrets”. They were lost! It makes for a gripping television program; an intense story that grabs our attention and captures our imagination because for many of us, it’s our worst nightmare! The horror of being lost, alone, and stranded in a remote and dangerous place. Not knowing where to go, or what to do, or who to trust. How would we survive? If we were stranded on an isolated island we’d want ever so desperately to be found, rescued and saved.
You know, in a sense, every one of us is living the story of those lost survivors. We’re all lost and alone, in an increasingly uncertain and hostile world. There is some good, some love, some heroism, some sacrifice. However, we also sense the often-overwhelming presence of evil, in and around us. Things happen that we don’t understand, can’t explain or have any control over. We struggle to survive, desperately searching for hope and purpose, meaning and direction. All the while, feeling more and more lost.
The good news is that the Bible tells us Jesus Christ “came to seek and to save the lost” (Luke 19:10). He came to rescue us from the evil around us and the evil in our own hearts, the sin that separates us from God … pride, greed, selfishness, envy, hate. These things have damaged us and the world we live in. But “God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). The Bible says, “Greater love has no one than this that someone lays down his life for his friends” (John15:13). That’s what Jesus did – He laid down His life for us. He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin; He took the punishment in our place. Jesus made it possible for us to be restored to a right relationship with God.
And it’s in that relationship that we find the courage and strength to face the challenges that come our way. It’s in that relationship that we find meaning, purpose, direction for this life, and hope for the life to come. See, after His death on the cross, Jesus didn’t stay in the grave. He rose from the dead in power and glory. He triumphed over death. And before he returned to heaven Jesus promised that he would prepare a place for all who believe in Him, so they could join Him there someday (John 14:2-3)! Home to Heaven. “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore” (Revelation 21:4). No more darkness or fear. Only love and joy and peace-forever!
I will conclude with this very sobering story of a young man, who in the spring of 1998 was flown into desolate northern Alaska to photograph the natural beauty and mysteries of the tundra. He took along 400 rolls of film, several firearms, and 1,400 pounds of provisions. As the months passed, the words in his diary changed from wonder and fascination into a nightmare. In August he wrote, “I think I should have used more foresight about arranging my departure. I’ll soon find out.” In November he died in a nameless valley, by a nameless lake, 225 miles northeast of Fairbanks. An investigation revealed that though he had carefully planned his trip, he had made no provision to be flown out.
My brethren, you can also read in the book of Deuteronomy that the Israelites made a similar mistake. For a while they had all they needed, but they forgot that it was God who provided for them (Deuteronomy 32:15-18). It soon became obvious that they had given no thought to the outcome of worshiping false gods and living for their own enjoyment. Their behavior brought God’s judgment (vv. 19-25). They had failed to “consider their latter end” (v. 29). Have you thought about your latter end? It’s wise to prepare for it now. Trusting Christ as Savior and living for Him is the only way to plan for the future.
It’s never too soon to plan for eternity.