Deuteronomy 31:6,8 – Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. (NIV)
Hebrews 13:5b-6 – God has said, "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you." So we say with confidence, "The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" (NIV)
On the sun-drenched morning of January 13th, my wife Janice and I took a leisurely walk along the Waikoloa golf course bordering our condo unit on the Big Island. With the promise of yet another beautiful Hawaiian day, it was strange that no one else was on the golf course. Halfway through our walk, an elderly couple on a golf cart darted quickly in our direction waving their arms as they closed in on us. "Great," I thought, "they'll now tell us that we can't walk on their precious golf course." But I had them all wrong.
"I don't mean to scare you," the man said politely, "but there's an intercontinental ballistic missile headed this way."
Interesting … "I don't mean to scare you"… but the world is coming to a close.
Many in Hawaii, I later learned, became terrified with this news, which appeared simultaneously on every cell phone in Hawaii. There were widespread reports of hysteria, crying, and panicking. One couple was videoed taking a manhole cover off a city street and depositing two children down the hole. I heard that another vacationer had gone into his bathroom at his condo with a case of beer and a mattress and proceeded to hide in his bathtub.
Janice and I took quite a different tack. We decided that if there really were to be a nuclear explosion, there would be little time to react in any meaningful way. What were we to do? Hide under a palm tree? We also both felt that the worst that could happen would be that we would soon be on our way to meeting our Maker — which would be a good thing — and we both experienced a deep peace about that. Besides, I thought, on the plus side, I would no longer have to be concerned about the MasterCard bill that was piling up from our trip! As my grandmother put it, "There's a silver lining to everything!"
Jesus, we knew, is the resurrection and the life, and therefore, death has no hold over us. It was an interesting moment of both peace and faith. I didn't even feel a particular need to pray, for our continued walk was a prayer in itself, and I felt a great closeness to God just holding my wife's hand. It was also interesting to contemplate that while many were panicking, thousands near us would be acting in a similar way as we were: continuing in their walk of faith, trusting in the God who declared, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
John 14:2-3 – In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (NIV)
How would you react if you felt that there was a good possibility that your life was suddenly about to end?
Prayer: Loving God, even in the valley of the shadow of death, You are with us. You have promised never to forsake us, never to leave us, in life nor in death. Thank You that Jesus brings us the confidence and peace which comes from death being defeated. Thank You that Jesus has promised a place with You when our earthly time is complete. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "A Beautiful Life" (Lyrics)