The Bible describes how the men standing guard at the resurrection tomb when the angel appeared as falling like dead men because they were so shaken by fear and lying prostrate in their panic terror. Their mortal beings were not equipped to withstand the presence of a spiritual being, and the consequences at stake.
The Bible describes the apostles out at sea when they saw Jesus walking on the water as being terrified, and crying out in fear.
In the book of Revelation, John the apostle sees Jesus and falls at His feet as dead.
Think of the emotions involved in these scenarios. There is the element of losing consciousness or feeling small and weak, or terrified. Coming face to face with God cannot be measured or described with human vocabulary words. There is nothing in our existence that matches the reality of what we will encounter when facing God at the judgment seat. Someday, we will all stand before Him and give an account of what we did with the grace given to us.
Imagine this: A young man encounters God after death and finds himself ushered into the presence of bright light, unsure of where is or how he got there. Fear seizes him. He squints through the rays of brightness blinding his eyes and sees a man sitting in a chair with a tablet of paper and a pen. He is asked to approach the man and reluctantly steps forward as his heart rate begins to beat violently. He realizes it is pointless to try to run away and begins to tremble uncontrollably.
Reality is brought to the forefront of his mind, and in his stupor, he cannot grasp the situation. He cannot hide his furious shaking. The man sitting down has not spoken yet, but the young man cannot keep his eyes focused on him out of shame, regrets, and remorse. But it is too late. There is nowhere to hide now.
When the man sitting down unravels a long list of his life’s activities and asks why he did not believe in the Son of God, the young man has no words that can flow from his lips. Now he knows where he is.
Who arranged this? What is going on? This is not good, he thinks to himself. What a fool I have been. I should have listened, and now it is too late. I dug my own grave, and there is no turning back. I am stuck, and my demise was my own fault. I have no one to blame but myself.
The young man is asked more questions and is overtaken with anguish and hopelessness and cannot answer coherently. The voice coming from the man sitting in the chair is loud like thunder and does not sound like any other voice he has ever heard. The young man, buried in guilt, collapses to the floor and faints. His soul cemented for eternity.
Imagine this: A mom stands idle, admiring the surroundings as bright lights and music fill the atmosphere, giving off a sense of calm reassurance. She tilts her head at the sound of a familiar melody. Voices begin to sing in harmony as if a chorus of angels were just a couple of feet away.
I am in a holy place, she reasons. Is this heaven? But where is my Master, she asks herself.
She remembers her last prayer – a prayer expressing her anxiousness to meet Him face to face.
Within seconds, she buckles over and convulses in tears when she is called to step forward into a man’s presence. He speaks to her in a voice like roaring thunder and she cannot withstand the bright light and the authoritative demeanor he wears on his face. She cannot stand up and fear overcomes her.
She blurts out how sorry she is for not evangelizing, for staying home to raise her children instead of starting a church. She apologizes for teaching her children godly principles instead of moving overseas as a missionary on foreign soil. Tears of anguish and guilt stream down her face, and she tries to hide them, wondering if she heard it all wrong. I thought that’s what You were calling me to do.
Suddenly, she feels a soft touch on her shoulder and peers up to see the face of Jesus, with eyes radiating pure love and acceptance. He reaches out to embrace her while telling her has He has waited thirty-four years for this moment, to have this encounter with one of His children who lived so faithfully, so committed and sacrificially, and who gave all she had to secure eternity in the hearts of her children.
Christians and unbelievers alike – God is watching and waiting. He knows all of our days before any of them will come to be. Eternity is written in the hearts of men. Where will you go and what will you say?
Lord, teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Thank you for knocking relentlessly at the door of my heart, and thank you for sending your Holy Spirit who helped me open that door, so you could come in have eternal fellowship with me.
Anne O’Donnell is married with four children and three grandchildren. She has always been a creative person and enjoys the challenge of writing on a variety of topics in a variety of genres. Anne loves Jesus.