This is perhaps the ultimate terror: to be lost and alone in a hostile land where the next man you meet wants only to kill you.”
–Gen. Harold G. Moore
“Christians are not citizens of earth trying to get to heaven–but citizens of heaven making their way through the world.”
I hesitated to write this Paine because of the subject. However, the thoughts kept coming back to me along with particular circumstances that I was aware of that were taking place. It is a subject that is real, yet most folks do not want to deal with it. It is a subject that affects all of us in one form or another. That subject is Death.
It is imperative that we realize the devil and the world does not want us to serve and worship God. They do not want us to recognize that Jesus is Lord. Their goal is to destroy and kill, not only the body, but the soul. Jesus came, died, was resurrected to overcome this evil agenda. Yes, death will come to all, but to the believer in Jesus after death there is eternal life. The following is an excerpt from my book soon to be published, “Trails in the Wilderness.”
There is a wilderness that I hesitated to mention. It is a place of mystery and foreboding. It is a place that every person who ever traveled the trail of life had to face or will have to face. It is the wilderness that many do not even want to mention or think about–Death.
Surviving the desert, the rugged mountains, the jungle is one thing, but no one survives that final wilderness journey of death. Oh, in the bright days of life we may mock death by words and actions. “Tip my hat and take my last ride.” And in reality that is a good way to face it, but many do not.
This wilderness may not be your own, but surely one day it will be, but it may be the loss of a dear loved one or close friend. That in itself is a special ordeal. Sorrow is a wilderness all of its own and everyone who faced the death of a loved one must deal with it. No one is exempt, but the faces of sorrow and the depths of the mental and emotional working that sorrow brings comes in many forms.
As Christians we most certainly believe as Paul, “to die is gain,” however, facing it is another thing entirely, whether in ourselves or others. Some call it “crossing the Divide,” others “crossing over Jordan,” those terms in themselves declare the struggle of crossing through experiences that may be faced in the wilderness.
People mockingly joke, “He is so heavenly-minded that he is no earthly-good,” but perhaps this is an answer or a help to work through the wilderness of death. Since the road on the journey of life stops, the answer lies on the other side of the veil. To meet this properly it would be good to have proper reflection on heaven and realize the brevity of life on this earth.
Yes, it is a mystery. What is it that is needed to face this new journey? I would say four essential things. First, a pure heart, one that has been changed by the spiritual regeneration of the Holy Spirit. Second, the trust in the Word of God. God will do what He says. Third, that great requirement of the Christian life and walk–faith. That coincides with knowing and trusting the Word of God. Fourth, hope, the wondrous hope in the promise of God, in heaven itself, knowing that Jesus is preparing a place for us.
Someone once wrote, “An eternal hope is the oxygen of the soul.” As we require oxygen to live this life on earth, perhaps it is hope that brings life to the soul to cross the wilderness of death; to cross over into life eternal.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
–Matthew 5:8 (NKJV)