- A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH
“They did not love and cling to life even when faced with death” (Rev.12:11 Amplified Bible).
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me will live, though he dies. And whoever lives and believes in me will never die” (John 11:25-26 NIV).
In Estonia we met people with this attitude. It’s the attitude of overcomers.
We spoke in Estonia’s largest church on the day after all laws restricting religious freedom in the Soviet Union expired, after seventy years of oppression.
The church is just down the street from the former KGB headquarters where some of their people had been imprisoned and tortured. But they had come back out and kept on going, knowing that their lives were on the line.
This is what Christianity is all about: It is a faith so strong, an eternal future so sure, that there is no risk in laying down our lives in life intercession, for there is no death for the believer in Christ.
Our son experienced that when he was in his teens. Did you ever get one of those phone calls that starts out, “I’m all right . . .”, and every hair on your head stands up, waiting for the “but . . .” We had a call like that from our teen-aged son.
“But . . . ? what?! Where are you?”
“At the hospital.”
“The hospital! (Dear Lord . . . !) “What are you doing at the hospital? What happened? Are you hurt bad?”
“Naw, I just had my ear sewed up.”
“Your ear? What happened to your ear?”
“Well, it was like this . . . Scott and I were hiking . . .”
“ And . . . well, we took a shortcut through that long narrow train tunnel. A train had just gone through, and we figured, surely there wouldn’t be another one for a while, but there was.”
“A train! What . . .?”
“Yeah. We were about halfway through when the tracks started to ring and there was this terrific noise behind us and this vibration and this light swinging and growing. We started running as fast as we could, but I could see there was no way we were going to beat that train. All I could see ahead was that little bright hole that was the tunnel exit, way, way off.”
“What happened? How did you hurt just your ear?”
“Well, I had my scout knife in my scabbard on my belt and it was loose and started flopping around and I grabbed it and just then my elbow hit the wall and well . . .”
“Well, it knocked my arm up and I ran the knife through my ear, front to back. I’m really okay . . . except for a few stitches.”
“But you know, Mom, Dad . . . with that horrendous noise and vibration gaining on me by the second, it dawned on me, I am really going to die—right now! And then I thought, Dear God, I’m going to see Jesus. In just a few seconds I’m going to see Jesus! And that’s when I started to get excited!”
In spite of his spiritual excitement, his legs kept on running until he and his friend fell into a shallow escape niche carved into the side of the tunnel. There they pressed themselves into the wall while the train slammed past only inches from their faces.
Since they came through relatively unscathed, our first reaction—after bear hugs from his dad and kisses from his mother—was to scathe him ourselves. But he had already learned a lesson. He said, “I found out the most important thing in the world in that tunnel; I found out that I really believe all the things I always thought I believed.”
For those moments at least, he had experienced the certainty of eternal life and freedom from the fear of death.
Jesus died to break the bondage Satan holds over you through that fear (see Hebrews 2:14-15). When you know you have eternal life, you can follow the arrows wherever God leads you because you have nothing to be afraid of. When you recognize that, you’re totally liberated.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. (1 John 4:18 NKJV)