It's quite an interesting and dangerous idea to consider writing an article about eternal life. As with many religious concepts, there are believers, disbelievers, and those who aren't inclined to believe, but are afraid not to do so.
In perusing the guidelines, and seeing this subject, my first thought was to ignore it, and focus my writing skills on 'to do' lists for the home and yard instead. Nice safe writing, guaranteed not to step on anyone's toes, except perhaps those people who don't perform any delegated duties to my liking.
But, something happened this week to change my mind, something that won't allow me to ignore this subject, something that is begging to be shared. So, share I shall, whether it makes the 'sorry, thanks for submitting' or 'I'm pleased to say' basket.
I'm a believer, but have not always been so. Even as a believer I question my commitments occasionally. I ask myself, am I doing all I can, all I should, all I need to do to be assured that I will receive eternal life? When times get muddy, when things seem bleak, I ask myself if I want it?
When I lost two children, when I lost my father, when God chose to take them from me, I questioned his motives. I argued with him, I pleaded with him, I yelled at him. I'm sure he listened, but he left my arms and eyes still empty of the touch and vision of those lost ones. Briefly after those episodes, I toyed with the validity of the Agnostic beliefs. I spit in the face of all I had previously believed in, spit in the face of good sense, and I suppose, I spit at God.
But, all the while I did that, I did it with fear. Fear of NOT receiving that all important eternal life. Fear OF receiving eternal life! I did not know with certainty what it would be like, but I had been taught from childhood to desire it, that it was good, that it was important. But, the tiny prospect of being able to see my two daughters, to sit in my father's lap again, drew me back.
I was afraid to believe and afraid not to.
The Bible says that heaven is a free gift, and cannot be earned or deserved, that man is a sinner, and cannot save himself, that God is merciful, and does not want to punish us; yet God is just, and must punish sin. God offers the gift of eternal life through faith in his son, Jesus Christ. Faith is trusting in Jesus alone for eternal life.
All through the Bible, the question is there, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.. on and on... as in Mark|10:17 "And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?"
We aren't sure what it is, but we want it. Do we want it like a fad? Do we want it because we want what everyone else wants? Do we want it because we think we are supposed to? Do we even know what it is?
This week I was opening the pool for my neighbor. Her husband passed away on Good Friday of this year. I've always opened the pool, maintained it, but he has always been there. I didn't HAVE to really pay attention. He wasn't there this year and I struggled to do it right. I put the filter back together, I put the fittings in the pump. I put the chemicals in, I flipped the switch. The pump burst to life, all talk and no action. There was no circulation, no suction, no filtering. I redid everything, I thought, I scratched my head, all to no avail. It refused to do its thing. After nearly an hour of this, I got mad. I raised my face to the warm sun and I screamed, "Dastitall Carl, TALK TO ME!"
Suddenly, as if he had, I remembered a step I had forgotten. Upon doing it, the filter surged to life it hadn't had in all the years I'd done it. The force of its power resembled an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.
Carl was there, he was watching me, he was helping. How could I not believe? How could I not want that for myself? How can I refuse the chance someday to look down upon those I love and watch over them?
So, I attend church, I pray, I sing hymns, I bow my head and scrunch my eyes up tight at night and ask for all the things I want for those I love, and even a few I don't, just as always.
But now, I do it with a renewed sense of love for my beliefs or is it possibly a renewed sense of beliefs in my love?
Besides, in case it was also him who pushed me in the 61 degree water the very next day...well...I LOVE a good practical joke. How can I not want that?