A couple weeks ago in our Action Group meeting (Mondays 11-1pm, Isabel Fidler Rm, Manny House), Andrew asked us to ponder on what it is that we personally believed was the greatest thing about being a Christian. I have indeed pondered this question intensely for the past week or so.
As a single twenty-something, I’m excited to meet the man who will one day be my husband. I’m not naïve to think that I will definitely have a husband, but statistically speaking it is unlikely that I won’t. Nevertheless I’m ashamed to say it, but I devote a lot of time to dreaming about the moment when we will first meet. What will he look like? What will be his immediate thought about me? I fantasize about that day when I’ll walk down the isle and into his arms as we both silently realise how much we complete each other. And then, amidst my deep longing for this moment in my life to come, I find myself thinking about the day when I’ll walk to the throne where my Saviour sits, and fall to my knees in wondrous awe of Him, realising how fundamentally incomplete I was until this moment. We are His bride and what a beautiful wedding day!
In our culture, it seems taboo to admit that we’re excited to die. As soon as you might say it, your company begin speed-dialing the suicide hotline. But I think there’s something wrong if we are not excited for the end of our life. Of course, I’m not condoning the taking of one’s own life. This is definitely not God’s plan for us. We are on this earth for now so that we might bring as many sinners as possible to His throne room before we die. It would be very selfish of us to cut this mission short on our own accord.
But I’m not afraid of death because Jesus has already overcome it (1 Cor. 15:57). I am a little afraid of a painful death, but I know that God will give me the strength to remain resilient to the end, if I keep my eyes on Him. A close friend of mine once told me, for Christians, this world is the closest we come to hell but for non-Christians, this is the closest they come to heaven. Why wouldn’t we want to leave this place? The promise of an eternal life spent with the One we serve should overcome us with excitement to die! “For one day in Your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere…” (Ps. 84:10). I don’t know about you dear reader, but I would gladly exchange my earthly life and all its empty promise for the chance to be united with my Lord and King, even as His lowest servant.
Another thing that excites me about dying as a Christian is the chance to look upon the scars that bore my sins. Often, I think Thomas (aptly known as ‘doubting Thomas’) has an undeserved reputation. As a journalist, I think I’m a kindred spirit. He wanted to see the proof before he believed that the Man he watched die had truly risen again. Who amongst us, if given the opportunity to test it, wouldn’t do the same? Not many of us are blessed with the sort of blind faith that would overcome the need for proof. I want to see the scars, not because I do not believe, but because I cannot fathom the magnitude of His suffering for me without seeing it. Truly, even when I do see it, it will still be unbelievable that my life would hold that much value in His eyes.
As a daughter, there a few things that delight me more than to hear my parents say they’re proud of me. There is a special bond between a daughter and her father that brings a flood of emotion whenever he looks upon her and says, “my child, in you I am well pleased.” I cannot wait for the day when my Heavenly Father looks upon me and says “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:23). To think that He, who embodies perfection beyond what I could fathom, could look at me, a lowly sinner and not only see me as blameless (Colossians 1:22-3) but clothed in His grace as His beloved daughter (Romans 8:15). To think that He, who is goodness personified, would ever look upon me and say “It is good” (Genesis 2). Well, do we need any more incentive to be excited?!
“I watched till thrones were put in place,
And the Ancient of Days was seated:
His garment was white as snow,
And the hair of His head was like pure wool,
His throne was a fiery flame,
Its wheels a burning fire;
A fiery stream issued
And came forth from before Him.
A thousand thousands ministered to Him;
Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him.
The court was seated
And the books were opened…
…I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
Then to Him was given dominion and
glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one,
Which shall not be destroyed.”
How wondrously frightful. How majestically terrifying. To think that I will be witness to this incredible event is awe-inspiring. I cannot wait to here the sound of the trumpet (Rev. 11:15) proclaiming the return of my King! Of course, I will be stricken with fear in that moment, but what a wonderful duality of awe and terror that it will be.
Now, all this excitement I have is by no means a result of how righteous I am. Surely, I am nothing more than a hopeless sinner, trapped by the horrendous nature of my heart’s condition. I could list my sins, but that would be impropriety and honestly, I don’t think I have the space or the memory. But His grace is so that I may be relieved of my need to act righteously. I may strive, but I will always fail because when stacked up against God’s goodness, my best works amount to filthy rags (Isaiah 54:6). But I may boast in my weakness for such is His mercy! (2 Corinthians 11:30) It’s not about me and my short-comings. My life’s failures are covered by His sacrifice (Is 53:4-5). Grace is given to me as a free gift so that I have no reason to boast but for His goodness (Eph 2:9) but every reason to offer it to others. His grace is sufficient for me to live freely, and thanks can be only to Him for that! (2 Cor. 12:9)
How wonderfully precious this gift of grace is. Its value is untold and yet it’s so freely given. Surely it should inspire us not only to share it, but to look forward to that day when we can come face-to-face with Him who first freely gave it. If a stranger willingly exchanged their life for yours, would you not go to enormous lengths to learn their identity? Our Saviour’s identity is known to us and I for one can hardly wait to look upon my King with my own eyes.
Yours in excitement for the promises yet to be revealed,