On Saturday afternoon I was gently floating on a lounger in our blow-up pool. As I lay soaking in the sunshine, gazing at the magnificent white clouds and expansive blue sky, I was giving thanks to my Creator God for what He has given me. I had no troubles diverting my thoughts or any anxieties to disturb my relaxation. I was so comfortable! When, just like that, I heard the gurgling of air escaping from the inflated lounger. The lounger began to deflate and I began to sink in the water. I got off the floater and tried to find the leak. The leak was in the seam and I knew the lounger was no longer usable with a leak of that kind.
That set me to reflect on many experiences of life that I have encountered over the years and of the experiences of others. Life was going on very smoothly and there was joy and satisfaction and peace. Life was so comfortable! Then, just like that, something out of the blue happened and life changed in the blink of an eye.
Some years ago, my brother-in-law was inside his house believing that my sister was outside watering the garden. He went out to see her and she was lying unconscious on the walkway. He called 911, but it was to no avail. Up until that time, it had been a typical day for them. Then, just like that, life changed. As was his practice, my son was jogging with his best friend, who was in excellent physical shape, then, just like that, his friend collapsed and died of a heart attack. In a flash, life changed for my son, his friend’s wife and their two teen-aged children.
I’m sure that most of you who are reading this would be able to give an example of how life was comfortable for you, or someone else, when, just like that, something happened and life changed drastically. Perhaps you went to the doctor for a routine checkup and something did not look right during the exam. The doctor ordered some tests and you were asked to come back to the doctor’s office. Then, just like that, you were given a diagnosis that changed your life in a split second. Maybe you were a soldier on patrol, when a sniper found his target and it was your buddy right next to you. Then, just like that, life changed for you and your buddy’s family. One fraction of a second before, you were discussing what it would be like when your deployment ended and you would be with your loved ones. The next second, you are holding the lifeless body of a brave soldier who always had your back.
Why am I writing these heart wrenching experiences? I am writing because we should never take life for granted. The Word of God says that, “it is appointed unto men to die once, and after this comes judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27). The Bible speaks about two final judgments. One is called the Great White Throne judgment, where everyone who has ever lived without believing Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins, will be judged for their deeds and then banished to the Lake of Fire with Satan and his demons (Revelation 20:11-15). The other judgment is called the Judgment Seat of Christ, which is when every believer in Jesus Christ will appear before the Lord and He will reward each believer according to the works they accomplished during their walk as a child of God. Some will receive many rewards and some will not receive any rewards. But, all those who appear at that judgment will enter into the eternal kingdom which is being prepared by Jesus right now (2 Corinthians 5:6-10; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15).
You see, we all have a choice to make right now. If you have not asked Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to forgive you for all of your sins, based on His death and resurrection from the dead, you will face the Great White Throne judgement. You will be eternally separated from God, eternally suffering unspeakable torment, eternally in total darkness, eternally in solitary confinement and without any hope, whatsoever. All because, just like that, you stopped breathing and you were transported immediately into hell. All your life you did not want God in your life, and now your desire will be satisfied. Just like that, in one breath, He will eternally be out of your life.
On the other hand, some of us have asked Jesus to forgive us of our sins, and just like that, we became children of God. Now we have choices every moment of the day to live as a child of God or not. We have the choice of following Him as our Lord or to follow our fleshly desires. What our Lord Jesus Christ wants from us, is all of us. “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, [which is] your logical service of worship (Romans 12:1). Paul tells us in Ephesians 2:9, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” That is the abundant life!
Remember, just like that we can die and just like that Jesus could come. I hope I will see you at the Judgement Seat of Christ and rejoice with you as you receive rewards from our Lord. In adoration and praise we will cast them at His feet as we worship Him face to face.
Bill Olsen, Elder