Amos 4:12, “Prepare to meet your God”
Proverbs 27:1, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth”
I read the following story in a medical magazine while waiting for my doctor appointment this past week. When the physical examination of a 78-year-old man had been completed, the doctor recommended that he come back in 6 months for another checkup. At this suggestion the aged patient shook his head and said, “Doctor, I don’t think I’ll be around then.” “Nonsense!” replied the physician with a reassuring smile. “You’ll be around for years to come.” The elderly man gave him an odd look, and then explained, “I mean that I’ll be in Florida. I go there every January.”
This amusing story may cause us to smile and laugh; however, the question it raises is very sobering. Will you be around tomorrow, next week, month, or even next year! It surely is prudent to make plans for the future, but we must always do so with an awareness of life’s uncertainty. Most people who don’t believe in God deny the reality of life after death. They say the grave ends all, and they feel no need to plan for eternity.
The English atheist Thomas Hobbes said, “I am taking a fearful leap into the dark!” The French infidel Voltaire cried out, “I am abandoned by God and man; I shall go to hell!” Sir Francis Newport wailed in anguish, “Oh, eternity, eternity forever, and forever! Oh, the insufferable pangs of hell!” An unbeliever wanted to make this point, so he had these words inscribed on his tombstone: All Dressed Up and No Place To Go. How ironic! However, the Lord Jesus made it undeniably clear that at death we do have “someplace to go” (John 5:25-29). What a sobering contrast there is of a person who knows and loves Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Dwight L. Moody said, “This is glorious! Earth recedes; heaven is opening; God is calling me!” Sir David Brewster declared, “I will see Jesus – see Him as He is. I have had the light for many years. Oh, how bright it is! I feel so safe, so satisfied!” These words came from a man being burned at the stake, “Blessed be the time that ever I was born for this day. We shall not lose our lives in this fire,” he said to his fellow martyrs, “but only change them for something better.”
Jesus said He came to offer us an abundant life (John 10:10). The apostle Paul also affirmed that God “gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Timothy 6:17). Yet, we can’t escape the fact our days on planet earth are numbered. So, it would be wise to think about our inevitable appointment with death. Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”. My brethren, our attitude as believers in Christ should be radically different than those who have not the hope within them of eternal life. Because of our trust and faith in Jesus Christ, our death-conquering Savior, we can say as a young German theologian did the night before the Nazis hanged him, “For me, this is the beginning.”
The young musicians hired to play for the Duke of Austria’s summer festivities were ready to go home. Summer was over and they were tired, but the Duke kept them there. The brilliant classical composer Franz Joseph Haydn was sympathetic and offered to help them. Therefore, he composed a unique symphony that began with full orchestra. As the symphony progressed, fewer instruments were included in the score. One by one, as their parts were finished, the musicians took their instruments and walked off the stage. By the end of the composition, only two musicians remained, the first and second violinists playing a beautiful duet. The Duke got the point. Shortly afterward, he sent the grateful musicians home. To this day Haydn’s Symphony No. 45 is known as “The Farewell Symphony.”
God’s people, those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ), are part of another farewell symphony. One by one, God is calling His people home when their part is completed here on earth (Philippians 1:19-26). We have all known servants of God who have left the stage of this life. Our Savior is preparing a better place for all who have put their trust and faith in Him. It’s not just a future hope; it’s also a present reality, a reality that gives us the comfort we need to face our death. One day, perhaps soon, the trumpet of God will sound for all who believe in Him. Oh, what a glorious day of rejoicing that will be!
The words on the unbeliever’s tombstone – All dressed up and no place to go? I strongly disagree! We are destined for either heaven or hell, depending on whether or not you believe in Jesus Christ as Savior. So my beloved, are you ready to meet God? Some anonymous person succinctly penned it this way – Life is uncertain, death is sure; sin the cause, Christ the cure.
Salvation is free, but it’s not yours until you ask for it!