13But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. (1 Thess 4:13-14, ESV)
Of all the things of the Christian faith that I have a hard time wrapping my finite understanding around, our hope in eternal life is the most difficult thing for me to understand. The Bible says that those of us that have been called by the Spirit of God and who have put their faith and trust in the righteousness of Christ for their salvation have eternal life.
This hope in eternal life isn’t something that starts only when we leave this life. Eternal life is here and now. Oh, sure, we are still in bodies that are wearing and one day we will leave these bodies, but those of that call on the name of Christ have eternal life now. Starting the minute Christ saves us, we have eternal life and we can trust one day we will be freed from this body of death.
I can say these things with confidence because God’s word, the Bible, tells us it’s true. Additionally, I know it’s true because of the call Christ has on me. I also know it’s true because of the Spirit of God working daily in my life.
The thing is, though, it’s so hard to keep this eternal life promise in front of me as hope. It’s so hard for me not to get wrapped up in the troubles of this life. I spend far too much energy looking at things that in light of eternity are only a vapor. We are born and are alive only a moment in light of eternity.
Today I heard a friend of the past had passed on. I wrote a post about him sometime back. I encourage everyone to read it here. Not that I’m especially proud of it, but because how he made an impact on my life such as I memorialized him in words and now he’s gone.
My friend’s name was Charlie. I have worked with him on and off over the years. We’re both contract engineers and we mostly do consulting and temporary engineering work. As I said in my previous post about him, Charlie was a biker and a hard-core anti-Christian. He was vehemently opposed to the things of God.
I liked Charlie a lot. He taught me so many of the engineering design techniques I use in my work to this day. Charlie was a hard man and a hard drinker, but deep inside there was nevertheless a human being that at times demonstrated a generous heart. I can’t say for sure what caused Charlie to be the way he was toward God. He spoke so little of his past. I can say with confidence that Charlie is a man who those of us in my line of work will tell stories about for the rest of our lives.
I ‘m saddened that Charlie never turned his life toward God. I’m saddened that Charlie would never even give a moment to hear anything a Christian would have to say to him. Most of all I’m saddened that all of Charlie’s life he was a tormented soul yet he was so gifted by God that people will memorialize him the rest of our lives. The thing is, most of what we will say about him we will have a few laughs over, yet in a way it’s all very sad.
You see, Charlie took his life this weekend along with the life of one of his former wives. Charlie went out the way he lived his life….hard.
I’ve often wondered if I said enough to Charlie; he was so bitter to anything remotely Christian.
I know I didn’t.
I didn’t say enough because after a while I gave up trying.
I can only pray that God will send another Charlie my way and next time, I won’t give up…..the thing is, it’s too late for Charlie.