Laughing at the Future
- Wednesday, February 21, 2007
One such promise we will do well to store up in our hearts is Hebrews 13: “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” The Puritan preacher Thomas Lye remarked that in this passage the Greek has five negatives and may thus be rendered, “I will not, not leave thee; neither will I not, not forsake thee.” Five times God emphasized to us that He will not forsake us. He wants us to firmly grasp the truth that whatever circumstances may indicate, we must believe, on the basis of His promise, that He has not forsaken us nor left us to the mercy of those circumstances.”
God will never leave us, neither will He forsake us. We have to hold onto this portion of God’s Word as firmly as we do the promises of forgiveness of sin, our salvation, and eternal life. Either all of the Bible is true or none of it is – so for professing Christians, this means we are assured we will never be alone. Christ was forsaken so that we would be forever accepted.
Not only do we have God’s eternal companionship, we also have the companionship of the rest of the Body – specifically the members of our local churches. We have been added and joined to others, which ensures we will not be alone. Have you ever noticed how often the Book of Acts describes the process of conversion as being added? Acts 2 gives the account of the first days of the church as “the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.” Acts 5 says: “And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women.” Acts 11 records: “And a great many people were added to the Lord.” We have been added to the “church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all” (Ephesians 1).
We may be unmarried, but as Christians we are not solitary. Admittedly, it can sometimes feel like that, but may I gently suggest that this feeling of isolation can be overcome by reaching out to other church members instead of waiting for them to reach out to us? After all, these are the people with whom we will spend eternity, so why not get to know, invest in, and love some of them now?
Now consider the “ever-growing pool of past grace” in your life. Even in your greatest trials, hasn’t God provided companionship? In my experience, every time a close friend marries or I move or someone leaves, He shortly ushers a new friendship into my life. No, it’s not always the same, nor is it always at the same depth as before – but I’ve never been left completely on my own. I’m teaching myself that whenever I feel alone in a crowd, I should look around for someone else who may be feeling the same way so that I may be used by God to extend grace and kindness, instead of being consumed by my own feelings.
In saying this, I’m not trying to sugarcoat the realities of growing older or of being part of a church full of imperfect people – there will be challenging circumstances in our futures, but we will not walk through them utterly alone. We are part of the Lord’s body now, and both the Head and the other members will be with us for all time.
Death should sober us because it is the payment for sin (Romans 6). Yet, as John Piper writes, “it is astonishing how disinterested people are in the reality of dying.” He continues:
Few things are more certain and universal. The possibilities for joy and misery after you die are trillions of times greater than in the few years on this earth before you die. Yet people give almost all their energies to making this life secure, and almost none to the next. The Bible compares this life to a vapor that appears on a cold winter morning and then vanishes (James 4). That’s about two seconds. But it describes the time after death as “ages of ages” (Revelation 14, literal translation) – not just one or two ages that last a thousand years, but ages of ages – thousands and thousands of ages. It matters infinitely what happens to you after you die.”
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