by Anne O’Donnell
The Bible describes how the men standing guard at the resurrection tomb when the angel appeared as falling like dead men because they were so shaken by fear. Their mortal beings were not equipped to withstand the presence of a spiritual being.
The Bible describes the apostles out at sea when they saw Jesus walking on the water as being terrified, and crying out in fear.
In the book of Revelation, John the apostle sees Jesus, he falls at His feet as dead.
Think of the emotions involved in these scenarios. There is the element of losing consciousness, feeling shame, terror, or unworthiness. Coming face to face with God cannot be measured or described with human vocabulary words. There is nothing in our existence that matches the reality of what we will encounter when facing God at the judgment seat. Someday, we will all stand before God to give an account of what we did with the grace given to us.
Imagine this: A young man encounters God after death and finds himself ushered into the presence of bright light, unsure of where is or how he got there. He squints through the rays of brightness blinding his eyes and sees a man sitting in a chair with a tablet of paper and a pen. He is asked to approach the man and reluctantly steps forward as his heart rate begins to beat and he realizes it is pointless to try to run away. He begins to tremble uncontrollably.
What does this man want with me, he ponders, and why am I so afraid? Who arranged this and why wasn’t I alerted ahead of time? What is going on?
The young man is asked some questions and is so overtaken with fear that he cannot answer coherently. The voice coming from the man sitting in the chair is loud like thunder and does not sound like any other voice he has ever heard. He falls down and feels buried in guilt and shame and remorse. This is not good, he chides himself. What a fool I have been. I should have listened, and now it is too late. I dug my own grave, and there is no turning back.
Imagine this: A mom stands idle, admiring her surroundings as bright lights and music fill the atmosphere, giving off a sense of calm reassurance. Is this the moment she read about in her Bible? Where is my Master, she asks herself.
She does not remember being taken away from earth, but she does remember her last prayer – a prayer letting God know she is all His, a prayer expressing her anxiousness to meet Him face to face. She is overcome with peace but cries when she is called to step forward in the man’s presence.
Without being able to control herself, she blurts out how sorry she is for not evangelizing, for staying home to raise her children instead of starting a church. She apologizes for teaching her children godly principles instead of moving overseas as a missionary on foreign soil. She weeps, wondering if she heard it all wrong. She hangs her head and covers the tears in her eyes.
Suddenly, she feels a soft touch on her shoulder, and peers up to see the face of Jesus, with eyes radiating pure love and acceptance, She catches herself wanting to lunge forward to hug Him around the neck, but He reaches out first to embrace her while telling her how long He has waited for this moment, to finally pick up one of His children who lived so faithfully, so committed, and sacrificially gave all she had to secure eternity in the hearts of her children.
Lord, teach us to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Thank you for knocking relentlessly at the door of my heart, and thank you for sending your Holy Spirit who helped me open that door, so you could come in and have eternal fellowship with me.
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