Chapter 8: What Now?

Betty, my wife, came to the door slurring her words, and her face on the left side was sagging. She had trouble walking and was disoriented. I suspected she had a stroke and a brain scan verified it beyond a shadow of a doubt at the hospital. After weeks of therapy and medical help, she was almost back to normal, except she had lost the feeling in the tip of her left hand and could no longer work at the insurance company doing the data entry on the computer. Soon after this, we found that she had an extensive build-up of plaque in her neck arteries that required surgery. It was blocking the blood flow and causing pieces of plague to float to her brain and might cause another stroke. The surgery was not an easy one but was successful.

A short time later, a camera in her arteries revealed three blockages in the heart’s valves. This event would require open-heart surgery because Angioplasty would not work. It was also successful, but the recovery time took years with many complications. This procedure drained our money and cost me many leave days at work. It also caused great stress and anxiety between family members and, of course, my relationship with my wife, Betty.

During this process, which took several years, I buried my mother from a massive stroke, and four months later, my father passed away from loneliness and pneumonia. The stress and uncertainty were the hardest to deal with, and this process affected me physically myself years later. Many other things happened, but I tell you this to show that I have been through heartache and pain and bad times.

Where was God through all this, and how do you get through times like this? God is where he always is, in the hearts and prayers of those who seek him. Life is not always fair if you look at it in the world view of “this is all there is.” But there is so much more in life than the glamour and pleasure and things of this world. It is very temporary; God is Eternal. How people get through hard times without the hand of God in their life is incomprehensible to me. Many people have to be short-sided in their world view and live for the weekend or that trip or physical pleasure or fun or the next party or an affair. Some people can sum up the value of their life in the things they have or money they make, or their career or position.

When their world view lets them down and trouble comes, they turn to alcohol, drugs, excitement, depression, and sometimes suicide. The world has no eternal life answers because it can only offer physical pleasure, fleeting beauty, getting older, and death. Everyone has a ticket to ride that train called death. What happens then? Depending on your mindset and belief system, you may have many ideas, and you may think that you cease to exist. If you read the other chapters of the book, you know it is the author’s view that if we have a life-giving relationship with the living God, we go to be with Him when we die. And if we choose not to respond to the call of God’s Holy Spirit and reject the Son of God’s sacrifice on the cross for our eternal salvation from sin, then we go to utter darkness. The place prepared for the devil and the fallen angels away from God’s presents forever.

God won’t force you to be with Him in eternity. It is very sobering for us to think this way, but Christian reality none the less. Am I trying to scare you? No, not at all because fear is not a reason to follow God. The followers of Jesus did not choose the God of Life because of fear. They did it in response to the calling of the Holy Spirit and the love shown to them in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. I will make a rational thought built on what I know. If I do not know God’s truth, then I am lost and without hope of eternity with God. But the followers of Jesus have experienced the very presence of God in Jesus. He called Himself the Way the Truth and Life and then proved it in his sacrifice and the life he gave for us, and the ultimate love he showed in his actions.

But wasn’t that all a fairy tale told to control people and deceive them in a false belief of happiness and peace? Tell that to the early church martyrs who gave their lives because they Knew Jesus. Peter (in his second epistle) wrote: “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” Similarly, the apostle John begins his first letter this way: That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.” John’s testimony is the same in 1 John 1:1-4.

The four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, each give an account of Jesus’s life. Matthew and John were two of Jesus’ twelve disciples. They wrote with firsthand knowledge of what Jesus said and did. Mark wrote about the life of Jesus from the viewpoint of Simon Peter, also one of the twelve. Luke wrote from the perspective of Jesus’ mother, Mary. He asserted that his account of Jesus’ life was based upon the testimony of eyewitnesses.

The four gospels chronicle the ministry of Jesus in a historical setting. Luke, for example, provides the names of the rulers living at the time when John the Baptist, Jesus’ forerunner, appeared: Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, Anna and Caiaphas being high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness (Luke 3:1,2). These are historical facts that can be proven through other historical writings.

Many people hold that the Christian belief system called the body of Christ is reliable and is eternal wisdom from Jesus Himself. If this is true and reasonable, why do men of great intelligence reject the belief of God? Aldous Huxley, born 1894 – died 1963, was an English writer and one of the most prominent Huxley family members. Best known for his novels, including Brave New World and a wide-ranging output of essays, his writings, and remarks about Darwinism and the evolution theory are well known from the mid 20th century. “Darwinism removed the whole idea of God as the creator from the sphere of rational discussion.” “Most ignorance is vincible ignorance. We don’t know because we don’t want to know. It is our will that decides how and upon what subjects we shall use our intelligence. Those who detect no meaning in the world generally do so because, for one reason or another, it suits their books that the world should be meaningless.” Men and women are drawn away from the belief in God for many reasons.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death, James Chapter One. When presented with the truth of the gospel about Jesus, we choose to stay in our state of unbelief for our own reasons. The wooing of God’s Holy Spirit sometimes is not enough for a heart that is not ready for whatever reason to accept the truth about Jesus. But we are encouraged if we believe and pray for those who don’t react initially to the Holy Spirit’s message that they will finally come to know the truth and respond positively to the calling of God’s Spirit.

The real meaning of life with God about others is that we show the love we have received to those around us. Despite bad times and in good giving thanks to God through all things. The potential is a life of victory given to us by Jesus. We hold the things of this world as secondary and to be used to glorify God and show the truth that real life comes from the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Your perspective, which involves the importance of earthly things, will be replaced with God’s eternal values. You begin to filter all your choices through the word of God and seek His wisdom, which the bible says that he gives freely to those who ask.

It is that simple, but it is also challenging because we wage a spiritual war in life. God lets us participate in this struggle with the flesh, Satan, and the world belief system to prepare us for eternity. But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, Nor have entered into the heart of man The things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9. We have no earthy concept of how wonderful God really is. The Christian life is so worth the momentary trouble of this earthy life. If you are discouraged, I encourage you right now to seek Godly help from others of like faith and from God through prayer and the promises of his word. And if you don’t know him as Lord and savior, call to Him right now and repent from the old meaningless life of self, which will end with self and hopelessness.

We have a special blessing that the early church witnesses of Jesus do not have. Jesus said to him, “Thomas because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29. We are blessed by Jesus’ words of encouragement and His last words before the ascension into heaven, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20. We are not forsaken, but we are made whole and set free from sin and the world. We are the children of God, bought by the blood of His Son, and destined to walk in new life.

I am blessed because of what Jesus did for me and the world, and no matter how much trouble comes my way, I am encouraged by His loving words. Happiness is based on events, good and bad, in each situation and is subject to change, but the love of Jesus is forever and is the joy that keeps me going and the strength to carry on. It is the reason for my faith in Him. His past, present, and future mercies are not in doubt because he lives in my life. My belief is not blind but seen in the relationship I share with the God of the universe. My reason and meaning for living are in Him, and he is my destiny no matter how much I make a mess of my life because I always come back to Him.

I am in the autumn of my life, setting my eyes upon what days I have left to finish the way God has set before me. My work is not done, but when it is, I look forward with all my heart to see the Son of Glory with my own eyes and worship Him for all eternity. Never can I thank Him enough for pulling me out of hopelessness and setting my feet on the “Rock Of Ages” Jesus. Living with the Lord provides a whole new meaning of the word “life” to earthly ears because life with Jesus is the most precious gift God has given to humanity

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“Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelations 21.

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