Article by C.S. Depew
During Christmas break of my sophomore year in college, our Pastor asked three of us to speak in front of the congregation on Sunday. He wanted us to talk about college life and our Christian walk. Without really thinking about it, I agreed. When I did think about it, a pit filled my stomach. In my first three semesters at college, I had seen every temptation Satan could think up. While I had managed to resist many of those temptations, there were just as many that I did not. I saw nothing there that was spiritually uplifting. How was I going to do this? What was I going to say?
The Saturday before that day, I sat down with my Bible in an attempt to write down a few notes. Not knowing were to start, I simply opened my Bible to see what page fell in front of me. The first and only verses I read were Psalms 139:7-10. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. I closed my Bible. With one mindless exercise and four beautiful verses, God had told me everything. No matter where we find ourselves or the temptations we face: “Even there” God will lead us.
I don’t remember what I said at church that Sunday. To be honest, it doesn’t matter. What I do remember is Psalms 139:7-10. It is the passage God used to remind me that there is no place His love cannot reach, there is no where He will not go, and nothing He will not do to show His love for us. God loves us and has died to prove it! He sent His only begotten son to hell to pay for our sins so we can be with Him (John 3:16). Did you notice the tense that I used: He sent His son… It has already happened. It’s a done deal. Your salvation has been signed, sealed, and delivered along with everyone else on the planet. This is not just an insurance policy with blanket coverage and a “get out of hell” clause. This is personal! God wants YOU in heaven! Now before you start thinking, “What’s the catch?” Let me go ahead and say it; there’s a catch. You will have to do the hardest thing you have ever done in your entire life; harder than speaking in public or skydiving. Are you ready? Here it is. To receive God’s unconditional love and salvation, the thing you will have to do is… accept it. Most people you meet never will. But God will not give up. He will use every Christian on the planet if that is what it takes to bring you home. He doesn’t want you to perish, but He cannot make the decision for you either. The Bible is very clear about God’s judgment. He is the Judge, the Jury, and His discipline is fair and just. Just to prove the point, God gives us the story of Noah.
And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Gen. 6:5,7,8. God saved this earth for one man. He didn’t have to. He could have wiped the slate completely clean and started over. He could have changed things, but there was one man who was just in his generations. (Gen. 6:9a)
When I was about six years old, we had moved to the farm and got our first horse, Blackjack. One day Dad and I went back to the barn to feed the horse and of course play with my Hot Wheels. Dad went into the stall to groom Blackjack, and I grabbed the hoe to drag roads through the dirt for my cars. After a few minutes I heard something hit the wall. Dad had walked around Blackjack brushing him and Blackjack had kicked at him hitting the wall instead. Dad came to the stall door and said, “Cary, let me see the hoe a minute.” I got up, and handed Dad the hoe. With one motion he grabbed the hoe by the metal end, turned, and smacked the handle across Blackjack’s backside braking the handle. He then handed it back to me through the door and continued brushing him. Two things never happened again after that day; our horse never raised his leg to kick at anything, and I never let my backside get within a hoe handles length of my father. My father is very slow to anger, but he will discipline.
What if Dad had forbid me from riding horses or getting around them after that day? It would have punished me just so I wouldn’t get kicked. Instead, he disciplined the horse and still protected me. Likewise, it would have been unjust for God to destroy the only man on earth who loved and feared Him. So He disciplined the world, but spared the earth for that man. That’s God’s love, all you have to do is accept it. Just make sure you know on which side of the stall door you’re standing.