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Topic: Betrayal (02/16/04)
TITLE: Celestial Shore
By Linda Germain
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New car smell…ooh, ahh. One sniff identifies a vehicle to be in its sparkling infancy with promises of fresh starts and untried journeys. My son’s first car sits outside staring through the kitchen window from its semi-permanent parking place. A big elephant of a thing, thinly covered in an original past-its-prime color, it appears sad and useless and anemic. Made in 1978, six years before he was, this pile of antiquated Oldsmobile is long overdue for the metal graveyard. It is dull and lethargic; it has old car odor.
Recently, he made a step -up to a truck, which is a decade newer. There is still too much affection for “old Blue” to send it to a final resting place. “After all,” he justifies, “ It has a fine sound system.” At one time it was a beauty, someone’s pride and joy. Now, in the twenty-first century it is worn out and unreliable. If he tried to take even a short trip it would betray him. Things squeak and leak and rattletrap along in a most valiant way. It is painful to watch, knowing how it must have rolled off of the assembly line, spiffy and raring to go. Now it is iffy and daring a tow. He still loves it.
Like automobiles, humans also wear out. If these bodies did not let us down by ceasing to function, we could not go to the next level. Imagine no degeneration of bone, tissue, nerves or muscle. On the surface it might sound wonderful to be one hundred and fifty years old and still look eighteen, but wouldn’t we get incredibly weary waiting for that rapturous last train out of here?
Sometimes, all the skill and talent offered by a dedicated medical staff fails to keep a person from stepping into eternity. Eventually, compromise of our vital physical parts by disease or trauma forces us to expire. Without the death of this anatomical mass of protoplasm which houses a living spirit, we would merely recycle through earth’s junkyard. There is good news, though. Our essence, the immortal part, stays ALIVE to stand before the Lord.
It is rare to find any human who cannot relate to the sting of personal betrayal. Trampled trust causes almost unbearable emotional pain. The usual tendency is to hold our cup of need straight out to the side hoping for spouse or parent or friend to fill it. For that cup to overflow with love and strength from our creator though, we must lift it up to heaven with both hands. Unlike man, God will never forsake us, but He most certainly requires an appointment with us before we are sentenced to eternal life.
For whatever reason, when this lump of clay transportation eventually fails to stay in gear and moving forward, each of us will be summoned to His mighty presence. There are no exceptions. John Donne, the great English poet and preacher of the 1600s said, “…never ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for THEE.” If we embrace the gospel according to John, Chapter 3, verse 16, that final call should be comforting, not frightening. The truth sets us free to “ fly away to a land where joys shall never end.”
What if, in the midst of a harsh, cold winter, we were given the opportunity to travel to some wonderful island with balmy breezes, white sand and crystal clear water? Getting as far as the airport and declaring we had arrived in paradise would be a foolish assumption. Everyone knows there would be another step to reach that promised destination. The same is true of the notion that where we are now is the best part. This is merely the waiting room to real life.
It is sad for a child of God to be anxious in the face of faltering flesh and blood. A failing body is one betrayal with a glorious consequence: the opportunity to step UP to a new and improved model and escape to that better place which is prepared just for us. Salvation assurance gives high trade-in value for an old earth suit. It is a heavenly ticket HOME.