The other night on the History channel they talked about the end of times. The used the beliefs of scientists and biblical scholars as well as the words of the bible to debate whether the end is near or it's just a cosmic coincidence. It was very well written and showed that both sides could be right. I was left just confused about it.
I spend what I think is an abnormal amount of time thinking about the end of the world and death in general. I think because it's one of the biggest things in my faith that I question, what is it I believe? As a child I used to believe that once you die your body is nothing and your soul goes to heaven for judgment and to live eternally with the maker. But the more ideas I'm exposed to, the more people talk and the more I read I really wonder about the timing of things.
There are people that believe when you die your soul remains with your body until Jesus comes back to earth and raises the dead to enjoy the new heaven on earth because the only people (for the lack of a better term) that go to heaven are angels. Is this time period between death and the end of the world as we know it instantaneous to those that have passed? And what happens to those that have been cremated, where do their souls rest? They say the earth will be like heaven for 10,000 years, what happens after that? Do we start all over? Are we all reborn into a new world?
There are answers I can never find, things I won't know until the time comes, but it scares me. I have faith that my Lord will care for me and I know that it shouldn't be scary, but at the same time I'm always scared of the unknown. I like to know where I'm going, what I'm doing, and what's the hardest thing of all is to imagine that life is everlasting. Eternal life? I can't even begin to imagine what that's like.
My friend Leigh Ann and I once sat on her balcony in college and talked about these things and we both ended up with our eyes crossed and with headaches. It's so hard to imagine things that the human mind is not capable of understanding. To us, everything has an end, nothing continues forever. It's how we function, that at some point everything must end, and yet our faith tells us there is no end.
I've talked to many people who have talked about reincarnation. I have a friend who believes that you keep coming back to try and try again until you reach a point where you feel like you're fully happy. That the cycle does not end until you've achieved a happy and fulfilling life. I really have a hard time following that one. We are humans, there is no perfect life, and I think it's more about the experiences than it is anything else. So that theory I can put out of my mind, because if I get the option of coming back or spending eternity with my maker? Why would I come back?
There are so many interpretations of what the afterlife is like, what it's about, but which one do you believe in?
To be honest, the one thing that scares me the most, my biggest fear that is partly my battle with my faith most times in my life....is.......what if we're wrong? I can usually put an end to this because I fully believe that life is not some cosmic accident, that we were created with a purpose and that there is life after death. I refuse to believe that we are just living organisms that are capable of love, capable of thoughts, capable of all we are capable of for just a few short years in the span of time, and nothing else. But there is always that part of me, that little corner of my brain with the questions that thinks.....what if I'm wrong.
It's days like this that really make me crazy. To be honest it has been rolling around in my head for weeks now. Mostly because I ask myself this question every day....
"If this is the end of times, are you ready? Are you ready to pick up your cross and follow him?" What will I say when it comes time to be judged? What will my answers be? It is human nature to excuse yourself for one reason or another, but when you are face to face with God, there are no excuses, there is no reasoning, it's just full unadulterated truth. Can I handle that?
There are things I've done in my life that I am ashamed of, and the last few years I'm starting to let go of because I've begged for forgiveness and I've not repeated the actions and I know what was right and what was wrong, and I'm finally forgiving myself. But trying to imagine all these things replayed again at judgment? I'm so thankful for the love and grace that God provides because by human standards we'd all be screwed.
I do worry and am scared that the end is near. I do believe in my heart that it is possible that all the things I see are true and Revelations is being played out before our eyes, but I worry that when the time comes to take sides and stand up for God and fight against the evil that I won't feel myself worthy of fighting. But then again, maybe I am ready, but won't let myself believe it until the time is near. I would like to think I would chose death over the mark of the beast, that I would be strong enough to make that decision, that this headfull of doubt will be gone, it will be removed, and nothing will be left except my love and devotion to God.
I just don't know what it's all about, I don't know how to process these thoughts and ideas, but what I do know is they provoke me to search out more. It makes me stronger in the end.