Thursday, April 04, 2013

WHO ARE YOU HOPING TO SEE?

I watch the news quite a bit, so naturally I'm in touch with the crime that goes on about us. In fact, I just now saw a story about a guy that kidnapped a young girl, maybe 2 or 3 years old.

She's safe now, the guy got away, but you can imagine my internal reaction to that.

Clear at the other end of the spectrum, I recall a lot of people I've met over the years, that I really really liked. That would include some that I got pretty close to, many years ago, when I wasn't much interested in Spiritual things. One of those was my "Aunt Jessie". That's her, on the couch, in the red dress.

Incidentally, also in the picture are my brother Art, his 1st wife Joan, Aunt Marcella's son David, Art & Joan's son John, my Mom, and my Grandmother Cleveland. All are gone, now, except Peg, John, and Joan.

Aunt Jessie wasn't really my aunt. She was the mother of my mom's sister Marcella's husband. And it isn't that I was all that close to her, then. She lived with my aunt & uncle, who lived across the back yard from us for some years in the earlier 1950's. I'd go over to their house fairly frequently and would many times see Aunt Jessie standing in her walker, doing dishes, cleaning up, etc. But most of the time, I'd see her sitting in her room, and that image has 3 distinct remembrances. One is that she always had a Bible open in her lap, and another was there was a "Sallman Head" .. the common picture of Jesus, on the wall behind her chair. The last part is that she had a little radio beside her chair, always playing and tuned to the local Christian radio station.

That was Aunt Jessie, and man oh man, do I ever look forward to talking to her in Heaven.

Another I hope to see there is Mickey Meese, my best friend in high school and, in fact, my first best friend ever. I blogged about him, including the Spiritual component, here. I hope to see him in Heaven, too, and have some reason for that hope.

I'd like to see my brother Art there, too. He died a professing Jew, and rebuffed .. nicely .. every attempt of mine, to witness to the saving power, and the exclusivity of, Jesus. I don't have the same hope as I do for, say, Mickey Meese.

There are lots of other folks I won't name here, that I was really rather fond of in years gone by. I have no idea about them, but still ....

Then there's this tendency to want to see some folks consigned to eternal punishment. Pedophiles, murderers, leaders of countries who threaten to annihilate us, etc.  But then I read a blog post last week .. I confess I cannot recall which blog .. which talked about someone who had a miraculous conversion on their deathbed. And I do believe those things can happen, principally because I believe God can do that. And that, this morning, got me to thinking.

What if we got to heaven and discovered that Hitler or Stalin or Mao had, somehow had a genuine conversion to faith in Christ, before they died?

First reaction is normally bad, for me. But Max Lucado coined a term in one of his books: "The insult of the Gospel", referring to the fact that those who are saved late, perhaps out of unspeakable evil, spend eternity in Heaven, as do folks who were saved early and served faithfully. I believe that thought serves to highlight how unworthy we all are of salvation, and that it takes as much grace and mercy to save us as it does anyone.

From what I've heard, Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, David Berkowitz and Manuel Noriega all experience God's abundant mercy via faith in Jesus' substitutionary atonement (just threw that in to pick a fight with the General Atonement subscribers....). And I hope that's the case. What a thrill it would be to talk to one of them .. or all of them .. about their appreciation of what Jesus had done for them. What a heightened awareness of Him .. although we might not need that when we're actually in Heaven .. that would bring.

Wow.

No. I don't want to see anyone go to Hell. But I'm not in that department, and I am certainly in no position to second-guess The One Who is....



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