It’s time to ask the big question

What do you do when everything is stripped away from you? The people, things and activities that filled your life are removed indefinitely and your world is reduced to a virtual reality.
 
How do you feel when the fragility of life is laid bare? When death is all around, and you don’t know who will go next. When the data is scary and the prospect of loss is real.
 
There is a tangible feeling of loss and fear gripping the world right now. And there is real tragedy. What we do with these feelings and experiences may well define not just our time in isolation, but our entire future.
 
20190702_203338If ever there was a time to consider what really matters, it’s now. As the death toll climbs we are reminded that this life is ‘but a vapor’. It’s beautiful, yes – but so transient. Everything we hold dear here, even life itself, will come to an end. So now is the time to ask – what is the point of it all? And is there any hope?
 
Let me tell you – yes. There is hope. And it’s found in the God who knows first-hand just how broken this world is.
 
Jesus Christ was a real man. Not only that, he was the flesh-and-blood representation of God. He came to earth and tasted our brokeness. It brought him to tears. It filled him with compassion. And because he wanted to rescue us from this mess, Jesus died. Why? Because someone had to conquer death for us, and he stepped up to the plate. You see, death was our only option, until Jesus came along.

And now death is not the end of the story! Jesus did not stay dead. Countless witnesses confirmed – at great personal cost – that Jesus rose back to life. Now he is our living hope. He is alive, and we can share that life with him.
 
The Bible tells the whole story in a lot more detail, but the crux of it is this: God loves people with an incredible, mind-boggling, crazy deep love.  God loves people so much, that he took the death we should have had, and exchanged it for the gift of eternal life.
 
There is a lot of fear these days.  So let’s face that head on.  Let your fear take you to this essential question: if I die in the coronavirus epidemic, what happens next?
 
Let me tell you – there are two options, and only one is worth having.  Freely offered to you – today – by the living, true God – is an eternal life of more joy than you have ever experienced before. Waiting for you, if you accept it, is a love deeper and more unconditional than any you’ve ever known or imagined. It’s a ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ card; an offer of hope for something beautifully better to come.
 
But God will not force you. He will let you decide for yourself. Perhaps, though, he wants to catch your attention right now, and remind you that this broken life is not all there is. There is more to come, and it will be better than you can imagine.
 
He’s waiting for you, longing for you. Will you take him up on his offer? Will you give him your all in this life, and reap his all in the next?
 

“For this is how much God loved the world — he gave his one and only, unique Son as a gift.

So now everyone who believes in him will never perish but experience everlasting life.

God did not send his Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it!”

Don’t forget

Over the last couple of weeks my husband and I have been watching Band of Brothers. It is a second world war series that my my brother-in-law lent it to us, saying he thought we would enjoy it; I was sceptical. War movies are not generally my favourite, and this one looked like it might even be black and white (the horror – I cannot watch such desaturated entertainment!). However I agreed to give it a try, and to my and my husband’s surprise I was hooked.  Wow.  What a powerful movie.

In my school years I detested history, and when I started home-education I was allowed to drop the subject, much to my relief. I appreciate my parents’ respect for my personal interests, and now I am older I find I am increasingly self-motivated to learn all I can. Watching Band of Brothers coincided with an Open University course I am doing, the current topic of which is war poetry, so the timing was particularly good for me. I soaked up the history of the war, as told through the eyes of the courageous men who fought in it.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Band of Brothers follows the story of the US paratrooper unit ‘Easy Company’, from their drop behind enemy lines on D-Day to their capture of  the ‘Eagles Nest’ and the end of the war. Directed by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, this is predictably an excellent series. I would warn those who watch it that the language is very excessive, and there is, unfortunately, one sex scene that we skipped. Being a war film it also has some pretty shocking violence, although this is not as bad as it could have been. Despite these aspects though, I thoroughly recommend the movie. It is a deeply moving true story of men who willingly volunteered their lives – even to the point of death – and gave everything they had to do what they believed was right. That is worth watching.

The last disc of the series has a commentary and other extras which are also very interesting to watch, including comments from several Easy Company veterans. Again, this section is moving as you see the men cry for their friends and recall horrors of battle that I cannot imagine having had to live through. But there was one line that stood out to me more than any other. At the end of ‘The Making Of’ section one of the actors who plays an Easy Company soldier makes this comment:

These guys lived hell for years, for the betterment of the world. Doing a movie like this is hopefully a small shred… a sliver… of a thank you. And a little piece of information that we can pass along to other people, and go, “Don’t forget.  Don’t forget.  It was really hard, and these guys did it so that you don’t have to.”

When I heard this, I was stuck to the core. Certainly after watching this movie I won’t forget what they did, and I do hold them in high esteem. I think there is not a person in the world who could watch and understand what Easy Company did and not regard them as heroes. And yet, they can’t hold a candle to Christ. What they did – mind-blowing as it was – is nothing compared to what Jesus has done.

Our Lord Jesus Christ, truly did go through hell – for the betterment of the world.  He did it not just for His friends but also His enemies. He took upon himself the sins of the entire world, even though the world scorned Him. He died in the ultimate battle for the salvation of our souls. And glory to God, He rose again and conquered!

Let us share this good news with the people in our lives, and tell them of the greatest hero who ever lived – and lives still today!

And let us not forget.  Don’t forget.  It was really hard, and Jesus did it so that you don’t have to.

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