The Hellevator

Marco looked across the bay. He loved watching the ocean from his office window. Today, there was no fog and he felt like he could see forever. The blue of the Pacific Ocean was stunning as it glistened in the full sun. It was late Friday afternoon and he was calling it quits for the week. He turned around and looked at his office. He smiled as he saw all of the awards he had received throughout his career as a real estate broker. It had been quite a ride and he was still enjoying the thrill as each sale closed and his company received its commission.

Tomorrow was his 50th birthday and he and his family were going to spend the weekend at his parent’s winery in Napa. He loved his parents but had chosen not to stay in Napa and work with his dad and brothers. Growing grapes and making wine did not compare to the thrill of making thousands of dollars from just one real estate transaction.

Marco walked out the door of his office and headed for the elevator. As he started to reach for the button, everything went black and he collapsed on the floor. He woke up as his spirit left his body and traveled upwards. In a few moments, he was in a room filled with light and millions of books. He looked around and saw what he believed were two angels. They looked at him and then turned and opened a gigantic door. A being filled with light entered and when his eyes adjusted to the light, he could see the most beautiful being he had ever seen. Not only was this person filled with light, he could feel love emanating from his every pore. He could see the scars on his hands and feet and he knew instantly who he was. This was Jesus, the Son of God that his parents had taught him about when he was little.

Marco could do nothing else but fall on his face and worship Him. Jesus came forward and lifted him up. As He touched Marco, love filled Marco’s being. He knew he was loved completely at that moment. A flash of fear coursed through Marco’s mind. What was he doing here? Had he died? What about his life? As those thoughts went through his mind, Marco began to see his life pass before him.

He saw the things he had done as a child and as a teenager. He saw his rejection of God in his college years and his obsession with money and his career in his twenties, thirties and forties. His life looked oh so shallow and self-centered. Had he done any good? He saw how he loved his wife and kids and how his company contributed every year to the homeless shelter near his office. He wondered, was that enough to get him into heaven?

No words were spoken as Jesus looked into the Book of Life that one of the angels held in his hand. He searched for Marco’s name but could not find it. “I’m sorry Marco. I created you to spend eternity with me, but you rejected every advance I made to offer you my love.” Marco then saw the hundreds of times that Jesus had protected him and spoken to him in a still small voice. He watched himself ignore those moments as he hurried on about his life, anxious to cut another deal and make another great commission.

Jesus turned and left the room. One of the angels pointed to the Hellevator and Marco knew that he was going to have to take it and live in a Christless eternity. He began weeping as he was escorted to the Hellevator. The door opened and he saw a demon waiting to take him to Hell. He tried to back up but a force just kept drawing him forward into the Hellevator. He started screaming, “No, No, I am so sorry.” He heard his voice echo off the walls in the Hellevator and the demon smile a wicked smile. Just as the door began to close, everything went dark again.

“One, Two, Clear.” A bolt of electricity shocked his heart. His heart began to beat and he heard, “He’s back. Let’s get him down the elevator and to SF General.” He could feel them lift him onto the gurney and he heard the elevator door open as they rushed him inside. In just a few moments, he was on the street and they were loading him into the ambulance. Someone was talking to him, “We’ve got ya buddy, just hang on. You’re going to be okay.”

Marco felt the weight of his body and knew he was back in it. His chest hurt and he felt weak, so weak he could hardly talk. He looked up at the paramedic and whispered, “Thank you.” He then looked up through the roof of the ambulance into heaven, “Thank you Jesus, for a second chance. I won’t let you down.”

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17.

Image by Gerd Altman. Courtesy of Pixabay

Father Knows Best

When I was growing up, there was a weekly television series called “Father Knows Best.” Every week, the mother and kids would deal with a problem. They would wrestle with a solution and then the father would come home from work. He would listen to the problem and then, in his wisdom, would give them a solution. Whether they liked it or understood the answer, the family would follow the father’s advice and things would work out. Lately, the title of this sitcom has been in my mind.

I’ve been thinking about all the prayers I prayed as a teenager. They consisted of a lot of desires; the boys I thought I wanted to marry, where I thought I wanted to go to school, where I wanted to live, etc.; typical teenage girl hopes and dreams. Looking back, I am so thankful that my Heavenly Father did not answer those prayers with a “yes.” I certainly didn’t know what I was really asking for but He did. You see, my Heavenly Father really did know best all those years ago.

As I think through the decades of unanswered prayers, I wonder why there were so many “no” answers. I thought that what I was praying for was a good thing for my life or for the lives of others but so many of my requests were not answered the way I wanted them to. People divorced, died and lost their homes. Businesses were lost and loved ones went through a lot of suffering. I can’t even comprehend why my prayers were not answered and yet by faith I must trust that my Heavenly Father knew best.

My desire would always be to be spared suffering, for myself and those I pray for. In my quest of faith, I must admit that I don’t understand my Father’s allowance of suffering in this world. Why doesn’t he just wave a magic wand and make everything better? I have no answers for any of these questions. I do know a few things though.

I know I serve a good and loving God. I know that I live in a fallen world where there is suffering as a result of man’s sin. I know that this earth and this life are temporary and that there is an eternal life to come. I freely admit my lack of understanding but I do trust Him because after all, I believe that my Heavenly Father knows best.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Fear: The Ultimate Contagion

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Over the past few weeks, I have thought about what to write. The media has inculcated the public with an irrational fear of the COVID19 Virus. I have been in different situations and heard people speak of the fear they are experiencing. I have also spoken to people from the medical community who are not living in fear because they face worse germs every day when they go to their workplace.

This particular Coronavirus is real, of course. It does have about a 1% mortality rate, and those who are elderly or have underlying health conditions are the most vulnerable.  These facts are nothing to sneeze at (pardon the pun). It is highly communicable and it did not start in this country, so there is an element of the unknown about it. Each person does need to practice good hygiene procedures and make individual decisions about where they will travel and how they will limit their own risk of exposure to the disease.

That being said, the next condition to deal with is the underlying fear that is present in our culture today. We need to ask ourselves if we are going to give in to that fear. That answer will be different for each one of us based on our age, our health and ultimately the spiritual center we use to guide our lives.  Those who have no belief in God and are completely dependent on their own resources will have little reassurance. Those of us who do believe in God are in a much better position to defeat this particular enemy.

No matter what situation we are facing, the Lord does not want us to live in fear. He has promised us in His word that He will take care of us. “Fear Not” is woven throughout the Scriptures. For this particular circumstance, we have Psalm 91 to read and take comfort in. He tells us that if we are His and we abide under His shadow that: “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. YOU SHALL NOT BE AFRAID of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day, nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.” These are just a few of the verses from this Psalm that we can read and rely on. We can trust God to take care of us no matter what is going on around us.

I am not saying that we will not suffer or that bad things will not happen to us. I am saying that we can trust HIM to take care of us no matter where we find ourselves. For those of us who believe in HIM, let’s take a few deep breaths and remain calm. Let’s trust HIM with our lives because HE ultimately holds them in His hands. And let’s ask ourselves, “Who else would we rather have taking care of us?” He knows our every breath and knows the number of hairs on our heads. He just wants us to trust HIM. 

The truth is that we only have today, it is the only day we have been given. Let’s not live it in fear.  Let’s pray, practice good hygiene and spend time with the Lord in His word. There we will find everything we need to live in peace and to defeat this ultimate contagion. 

Image by john hain. Courtesy of Pixabay