Dr. Jim Denison
You likely won't die from a North Korean missile or an unsafe airplane today. But tomorrow is promised to no one.
A truck bombing near the Afghan presidential palace killed at least 80 people recently. A young woman who survived last year's Orlando nightclub massacre died in a highway car crash a few weeks ago. Fifty-nine people never returned from a country music concert in Las Vegas after a hail of bullets in October.
We are all one day closer to eternity than ever before. That is why "now is the day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2).
This Time headline caught my eye: "Extreme Ways Man Has Tried to Cheat Death." Among them: Cleopatra supposedly bathed in donkey's milk. Romans drank blood from gladiators. An alchemist claimed that medicine from a monkey's brain would lengthen life up to five hundred years. A future Nobel laureate promoted drinking sour milk.
Medical science is more advanced than ever before, but it is still true: the only safe way to face tomorrow is to be ready to meet God today. Consider Panama's General Manuel Noriega, who died recently at the age of 83. His 1990 conversion to Christianity while in prison made headlines. Recently, The Washington Post ran an article on his faith. Despite its skeptical tone, it reported Noriega's testimony: "I received Jesus Christ as my Saviour on May 15, 1990 at 11 a.m."
Noriega later told my friend Luis Palau, "I've found a new commander in chief: Jesus Christ." He pointed to the Bible in his prison cell and said, "There's the book that tells me what His will is for my life. It has changed me."
For a species that is so afraid of death, you would think more of us would be more inclined to follow Noriega's example. But our culture suffers from opposing deceptions: we're so self-righteous that we don't think we need Jesus to save us, or we're so guilt-ridden that we don't think He can.
In Break Open the Sky: Saving our Faith from a Culture of Fear, Stephan Bauman writes: "Accepting that we are loved for no other reason than the God of the universe loves us—it's in His very being and nature to do so—is the hardest thing you and I will ever do. Grace (undeserved love of God) is nonreciprocal."
However uncertain tomorrow seems, this fact is still true today: you cannot make Jesus love you any more than He does right now. Or any less.•