When Your World Stops Turning
I rolled over in bed, dripping with sweat, trying to fight off the mental fog that pushed on me with incredible force. My husband had left earlier that morning for a job interview, and my doorbell was now ringing incessantly. Stumbling free from the covers, I made it to the front door to find my mother-in-law saying something about an attack. She turned on my TV and I sat in a stupor and watched the horror of 9/11/01 unfold before my eyes.
I had forgotten why my mother-in-law was there until my sister arrived. I was supposed to see the doctor. One would stay with the baby, and one would take me for my appointment. I had given birth exactly one week earlier to my first born, and something was very wrong--with me. My sister took my temperature and I was in the high 103s. By the time I arrived at the doctor's office I had gained at least another degree and he sent me to the hospital.
Lying in that hospital bed, I watched the planes hit the World Trade Center towers over and over again. I watched them collapse countless times. I saw the faces of shock and horror played on my screen, leading me to believe that my newborn daughter had arrived just in time for the end of the world.
Fast forward to last week. We celebrated Hannah's 15th birthday, she finished driver's ed, complete with a learner's permit, and is a freshman in high school. Her world is far from over. In many regards, it's just beginning.
Yet, in the last 15 years, the world has stopped turning for so many that I love. I said goodbye to my grandfather, two aunts, a cousin and several friends. Age, accidents and illness have crept in, ending life, and reminding me repeatedly of my mortality.
The honest truth is, we are all dying. Some of you know that time is short. You've been given a diagnosis of cancer, ALS, kidney failure or heart disease. For the rest of us, it's just a question of how much time we have. We don't like to think about it, but the statistics are pretty hard to deny: 100% of people die.
Before you get depressed and stop reading, I want to infuse this story with hope. Not wishful thinking or dreams of "What if?". I'm not one to put stock in fairy tale endings. I want assurances. I want promises,not from fallible people, but real guarantees about what happens to me after my world stops turning.
That's where faith comes in. Don't scoff and roll your eyes. There's an important difference between faith and hope. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hope is a desire for something to happen with no guarantees of the outcome.
It's what (or whom) you place your faith in that will determine the success of the outcome. I don't have faith that I will escape death. I don't even have faith in myself. But I do have faith that my eternity in heaven is secure.
There not really a debate that Jesus walked this earth two thousand years ago and was crucified. If you really want proof, I suggest reading books like The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel (who, by the way, was out disprove the whole Jesus story) or Evidence That Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell.
The question really boils down to: Did Jesus come back to life, and if he did, what does that mean? Well, he was seen by over 500 people after his resurrection. He spoke to, interacted with, ate among, and was physically touched by these people. Many of them went on to give their very lives because they refused to deny their testimony about the resurrected Jesus.
Assuming that it's all true, what does this have to do with you? Well, it does indeed point to that one verse that you see the crazies holding up at football games: John 3:16. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."
So many of you that I know and love reject this message. It grieves my heart beyond your comprehension. But I wouldn't be a friend if I know how to save you from drowning but fail to throw you a life preserver. Faith in Jesus won't disappoint. It won't prevent you from dying, but it will assure your place in eternity.
Most of the time, people stop after John 3:16, but I want to give you a few additional verses to consider: "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." Choosing to put your faith in Jesus is serious business. Choosing to ignore him is equally as serious.
Looking at Jesus as a historical character doesn't cut it. He was more. Infinitely more! He is the means of salvation from this broken world. One of my favorite quotes by C.S. Lewis from his book Mere Christianity is:
"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God. That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."
Consider carefully what you will chose to do with Jesus. One day your world will stop turning. What will happen then?
I hate to leave on such a somber note, but it is a very serious subject. However, I want you to know that whoever you are reading this, I genuinely care about you. I care enough to have some of my family, friends, and an internet full of strangers think me an idiot and mock me for it. However, this message is something that must be said. You are loved. You are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the "little" children of the world.