ETERNITY MATTERS: What if Tragedy Knocks on Your Door?

By Norma Shull Smith

With a brand new year, we all at least think of doing a few resolutions and that would be what most writers would use for a January article, but I want to take you on a self–analysis journey.
It is difficult for many to even imagine what 2016 will bring to them and their families; after all a year ago when things were fine, many had great expectations for the year. Reality is, life changes on a dime and ready or not, we often don’t have a choice in those changes. This writer has experienced one too many deaths of loved ones and friends in 2015. I also am experiencing a life changing disease of a loved one. As I thought about each individual involved, age was not a respecter of persons. A teen died in a car crash, 2 were middle aged with one getting a diagnosis of stage 4 cancer and the other a brain aneurysm that came out of nowhere and the other in his 70’s, succumbing to a heart attack.
No one wants to think of, little own discuss death, but how would you handle 2016 if death knocked on the door of a very close loved one? There is an old adage that two things are certain in this world, Death and Taxes and how very true the statement is, for none will escape either; it may not be a loved one, it might be you.
We have just completed the biggest holiday of the year, when stores and businesses literally close their doors for Christmas Day, people think of family time, friends gather and children are full of excitement and anticipation of the annual visit from the man in red. Behind all the tinsel, wrappings, music and hubbub of preparation, is God’s very own GIFT to mankind. The Gift was rejected before He was born, as there was no room for Him in the inn and today, over 2000 years later, people still reject and shun Him. Sad to say, America is becoming more and intolerant of this man named Jesus, trying to make more room in the inn for other God’s than the God of our own nation (the God that Pilgrims risked their lives to come to this country for their freedom to worship Him.) God sent this Gift in human form to redeem man, so that we could face the unexpected with hope.
He sent this Gift not to condemn the world, but to save mankind from eternal wrath. Yes my friends there is a literal Heaven and a literal Hell.
How many of us have on our 2016 list of resolutions to draw closer in our daily walk with the Lord? Many feel they have time when they get older to “get religious!” A term this writer really dislikes, for Christianity should not even be about religion, it should be about a personal relationship.
None of knows what the next hour will bring, little own the year of 2016, but one thing we can do is to be prepared for all of the unexpected by educating our soul with the Word of God, by asking forgiveness when we wrong others or have sinned against the Lord and commit to living for the one and only true Living God.
Let’s not wait until sickness, job loss, relations fail or tragedy strikes to go on a spiritual quest. Hebrews 4:16 says it perfectly, “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” NIV Eternity Matters!

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