Where Are You Going?

By Pete VanStrien

“Where are you going?” This is a common question we ask or hear everyday. Most of the answers to this question are easy, but the one in the following story was not so easy to answer.

A young mother and her four-year old daughter were in a horrible car accident. Thankfully, the young girl was not hurt too badly. But the mother was critically injured and had only moments to live by the time the paramedics reached her. While still pinned in the car, the mother knew she had only a few breaths left, so she clung to her daughter’s hand and whispered, “Good-bye.” With tears streaming down her dirty and bloodied face, the young child looked puzzledly into her mother’s eyes and asked, “But mommy, where are you going?” Her mom searched for words but did not know what to say and then she died and passed into eternity.

Will you know what your answer will be the last time you are asked “Where are you going?” Perhaps you think nowhere. Perhaps you think you are good enough to go to heaven.  Perhaps you do not even care if you go to hell. My dear friend, you must have an answer to this question before you go any further in life. You do not know when you will be asked this question for the last time.

The Bible tells us that the moment we die, we will go immediately to either heaven or hell. There is no middle ground. There is no turning back. Who will go to hell? Revelation 20:15 states, “Anyone not found in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire [Hell].” In March 2003 I was in one of the lead units in “The March to Bagdad.”  Along the way we were engaged in some fierce and horrific battles. Afterwards I overheard a news reporter ask some soldiers to describe the battles. All they could do was shake their heads and say, “It was hell, just hell.” I could not help but wonder if they had any idea what hell would be like. My friend, it is beyond anything we could ever imagine. It is a thousand times worse than the most horrific acts of any war.  It is described as “a lake of fire,” a place where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth,” a place of darkness and torment—not just for a day, but for eternity.

Here is our problem: we are not good enough to go to heaven. If we have sinned just once that is enough for a just and holy God to condemn us to hell. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Whether we are a serial killer or a good person, we must be completely righteous before God, or we will face everlasting death. And there is no other way for us to be righteous before God but to have the righteousness of His Son the Lord Jesus Christ:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

My friend, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31). Now once you see that it was your sin that nailed Him to the cross, you will loathe sin and you will desire to live a life of service to Christ out of thankfulness for all that He has done for you.

Therefore, please consider your answer to this question, “Where are you going?”

 

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A wife to Lisa and father to three children, Pete VanStrien is a member of the Free Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

 

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Death Gospel

God’s Sovereignty Behind the Tragedy in Newtown

By Greg Forde (guest blogger)

Whenever we experience a tragedy, we turn to God for comfort. Aware of His sovereign power, we pray to Him for strength to overcome our struggle. We seek His help to move forward. Yet, some of us question God for allowing a tragedy (like the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut) to happen. We sometimes ask (perhaps not vocally, but silently), “God, why did You allow this murder to happen?” The ultimate answer, of course, is because He is sovereign and does whatever pleases Him. The psalmist says in Psalm 135:5-6: “the LORD is great….Whatever the LORD pleases, he does, in heaven and on earth.”

To some people this answer is not comforting; and therefore, they look for another answer, ignoring the fact that God is in control of everything. Ironically, they want strength from God but deny that He has the power to control everything. They cannot accept that it was God who ultimately took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults in Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

In Genesis 50:19-20, at the culmination of Joseph’s journey from a pit to a palace, he comforts his brothers who sold him for 20 pieces of silver: “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”

Here Joseph describes how the all-powerful God used the evil work of his brothers for their good and for God’s glory. In God’s wisdom, sovereignty, and providence He utilizes evil to accomplish His holy purpose. We see this truth at Calvary in which God was pleased to use the evil of the cross to conquer the Devil. God used the death of His Son to bring eternal life to those who believe in Him.

So, you may ask, “What is the good that comes from the Newtown shooting?”  We do not know how God’s plan will continue to unfold, but we do know that God, in His awesome power, can use this event to get each of us to turn our eyes to the cross of Christ.

Remember, God wants more faith. He wants not just a lip service in our homes, schools, and government, but a true return to Jesus Christ. We are not afraid to turn to Christ on our terms, but are we willing to turn to Christ on His terms?

 

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With his wife Pat, Greg Forde resides in Alto, Michigan and serves as an elder at Dutton URC, Caledonia, Michigan.

Death God's sovereignty Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting