God’s Answer to The Temporary and The Permanent

In our last release, we saw how life’s spiritual or emotional nightmares have parallels to a rather terrifying ski run called “The Plunge” my husband and I decided to try. Whether or not by choice, you and I can find ourselves on “plunges” in life where there isn’t a single inspirational quote, pep talk, or “feel good” statement that is going to help us.

In contrast, we can embrace a breathless array of biblical truths which, when accepted and acted on by faith, have the power to not only sustain us when we’re strenuously navigating our plunges, but also deepen our trust and intimacy with God. And that’s just the beginning.

When we’re on the plunge, however, we often feel worthless. We may wonder if God has forgotten us or if we’re stuck navigating the impossible by ourselves. It seems there’s no good way out of the bind we’re in and we can’t imagine an ounce of good ever coming from our circumstances. We inwardly ask whether joy and laughter will ever again be ours to know. These are natural thoughts of mortals in distress and they’re often fueled by the enemy of our souls, Satan (I Peter 5:8).

Nonetheless, as covered in The Unthinkable Plunge, God Almighty personally speaks from His authoritative word that:

You are valuable;

You’re loved by Him;

You aren’t alone;

There is a safe way down; and

He is in the business of making beauty from ashes

If you haven’t read the passages of scripture that these bold declarations are derived from, please—read them in our previous blog! See for yourself what God has recorded about your value, His love for you, His presence, and what He has done on your behalf and is ready and willing to do for you in the future. They are truths which stand the test of time.

I just have to stop here and say, “Wow! Thank you, God!”

* * *

You may have conflicting thoughts about there being a safe way down life’s plunges for the believer in Jesus Christ (Isaiah 41:10, I Corinthians 10:13, Romans 8:28-30).  Our “safe way down” may not include being rescued out of our plunges in a manner we would hope for (Daniel 3:13-18). Until we as Christ followers pass from this life into His glorious presence and become like Him (I John 3:2), we will—in our humanity—sometimes struggle to understand why God is allowing certain trials in our lives. Yet He graciously tells us in His Word that His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than ours (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Remember the plunges and trials each child of God faces truly are temporary (2 Corinthians 4:17). The time will come when God speaks and the old things we’re painfully familiar with—such as death, sorrow, and tears—will be forever done away with. There will be eternal joy, praise, and wonder upon wonder for all who are in God’s glorious kingdom (Revelation 21:1-5). And everyone’s invited to be there (Mark 8:34-38).

We will never again know the horrendous, paralyzing pain of spiritual or physical plunges. They were temporary.

* * *

The Eternal Plunge

God clearly warns us, however, about an avoidable plunge which is eternal: spiritual separation from Him for all of eternity (John 3:36, Matthew 25:41). Strangely enough, even people who know and trust in God’s Word have gotten a bit quiet about the eternal plunge. Oh, we’re pretty good at sharing about God’s love (which is amazing beyond description). But a lot of us have failed to be honest with others about the ramifications of all humanity being sinful (unholy) by nature and the contrasting, staggering holiness of God (Psalm 96:9). He cannot and will not have unity, or oneness, with anything unholy (Psalm 5:4).

If you’re reading the Bible from cover to cover (which the team at ETL encourages you to do annually), you’ve seen the record: God is holy and we aren’t.

There appears to be a growing presumption in our society that God owes all people a welcoming into His presence after they die—even when they never acted on Jesus’ invitation to exchange their un-holiness for His holiness (John 12:48; 2 Corinthians 5:21).  Yet the Bible is clear there’s only one way to avoid eternal separation from God and all that is good—and that is through faith in Jesus Christ (John 14:6).

“Hey!” you may be thinking. “This doesn’t sound the least bit encouraging. What’s the deal?!”

* * *

Whether we can bring ourselves to admit it or not, sin comes as natural to us as breathing (Isaiah 53:6a). And there are consequences. We know what it means to receive income in trade for our work, which pays the bills. But the consequences of our works of sin earn us death. Romans 6:23a states, “For the wages of sin is death…”

Death came into the world through the sin of humanity.

While physical death is a reality most of us are sadly familiar with, sin causes spiritual death which separates us from God—which is far more serious. Ephesians 2:1 states, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins…” And in 2 Thessalonians 1:9  we read, “These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power…”

An eternal plunge.

Hmmm. No wonder this isn’t front page news. We’re living at a time in human history when self worship is running rampant (2 Timothy 3:1-2a) and truthful communication about us being sinners deserving of death and separation from God is increasingly considered foolish, judgmental or offensive (I Corinthians 2:14). When we care for people, the last thing we want to do is offend them, right?

* * *

A high schooler was offended by a police officer after having been in an automobile accident. She was sitting in the wrecked car telling herself there was no need to fear because she, her boyfriend, and the other driver were miraculously unhurt.

Police arrived. One officer began interviewing the drivers while another approached the high schooler who was still seated in the car. He asked if she was okay before suggesting she head across the street to the sidewalk.

“Thank you,” she replied. “I’m fine and think I’ll just stay here out of the way.”

The officer looked worried. He again suggested she go to the sidewalk where she saw people beginning to congregate. She again murmured she was fine before the officer’s demeanor suddenly changed and he barked “Get out of the car NOW!

The teenager was shocked, confused, and offended by the officer’s terse order before realizing he had been trying without success to get her out of the car. She then quickly complied and came to learn the danger all of them had been in. The officer had noticed the fuel tank on her boyfriend’s car had split and that gasoline was pouring out on the roadway underneath the vehicle—while the at fault driver nervously smoked a cigarette a few yards away.

Clearly, the public servant who briefly offended the high schooler was a highly intelligent, self-sacrificing hero. He saw the danger of the situation and intuitively knew if he yelled a warning about gas leaking out of the fuel tank panic may ensue. A cigarette could easily be dropped with an ember reaching the gasoline, resulting in a fiery explosion. He was facing the potential of someone becoming trapped in a burning car.

The officer selflessly moved into the danger zone to extract the at risk passenger as quietly and calmly as possible. He risked his life further to remove the danger to his fellow officer and the drivers. And the young woman? She was brought safely to her parents’ home that evening, filled with gratitude for the selfless valor of the officer who briefly offended her.

* * *

John 3:16 states, “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”

God mercifully intervened, at the greatest cost imaginable to Himself, to rescue us from the eternal plunge. He revealed Himself to all humanity through His creation and we are without excuse (Romans 1:20). Yes, the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life (Romans 6:23), offered to everyone (John 3:16).

This is more than encouraging. It’s wonderful!

 * * *

There are individuals who risk their lives to help others out of danger. By comparison, Jesus did not risk His life on our behalf: He gave it. He took the punishment for our sins and saves those who place their trust in Him from their eternal consequences.

But Jesus isn’t “fire insurance”. He’s the indescribable God of Wonders, the King of kings and Lord of lords. And He desires deepest intimacy and a perfect love relationship—not for you, but with you.  If you don’t know and love Jesus, that can change right now (Romans 10:9). Don’t be offended: God Himself is calling you “out of the car” and into intimacy with Him!

If you’ve given your heart and life to Jesus Christ, you’ve been rescued from the eternal plunge by the God who can be trusted through any plunge you face.

Hebrews 10:23 tell us, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.”

As we apply this scripture, we’ll find supernatural strength and encouragement from God to navigate our plunges. We’ll also learn to become better risk-takers for others in need of rescue.

Why? Because they’re worth it and He who promised is faithful.

June

June

People Lover. Author. Blogger. Speaker. Forgiven Much & Wild About God. Learn about June's latest book on her website.

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