by Charles R. Swindoll
Scriptures: Job 14:1–22
14 “How frail is humanity!
How short is life, how full of trouble!
2 We blossom like a flower and then wither.
Like a passing shadow, we quickly disappear.
3 Must you keep an eye on such a frail creature
and demand an accounting from me?
4 Who can bring purity out of an impure person?
5 You have decided the length of our lives.
You know how many months we will live,
and we are not given a minute longer.
6 So leave us alone and let us rest!
We are like hired hands, so let us finish our work in peace.
7 “Even a tree has more hope!
If it is cut down, it will sprout again
and grow new branches.
8 Though its roots have grown old in the earth
and its stump decays,
9 at the scent of water it will bud
and sprout again like a new seedling.
10 “But when people die, their strength is gone.
They breathe their last, and then where are they?
11 As water evaporates from a lake
and a river disappears in drought,
12 people are laid to rest and do not rise again.
Until the heavens are no more, they will not wake up
nor be roused from their sleep.
13 “I wish you would hide me in the grave[a]
and forget me there until your anger has passed.
But mark your calendar to think of me again!
14 Can the dead live again?
If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle,
and I would eagerly await the release of death.
15 You would call and I would answer,
and you would yearn for me, your handiwork.
16 For then you would guard my steps,
instead of watching for my sins.
17 My sins would be sealed in a pouch,
and you would cover my guilt.
18 “But instead, as mountains fall and crumble
and as rocks fall from a cliff,
19 as water wears away the stones
and floods wash away the soil,
so you destroy people’s hope.
20 You always overpower them, and they pass from the scene.
You disfigure them in death and send them away.
21 They never know if their children grow up in honor
or sink to insignificance.
22 They suffer painfully;
their life is full of trouble.”
Will it be well when God examines your life, or will it be a disappointing discovery? I can’t speak for you because I have no idea. But I do know “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). Is that going to be a disappointing discovery, or will it be well with you? Probing thought, which is why I’ve urged you to give these questions such serious consideration.
Look at Job 14:14: “If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my struggle I will wait until my change comes.”
Here’s what I’d like you to think about: When you die, where will you live again? Will it be with the Lord or away from His presence forever? The choices are heaven or hell. Will it be eternal bliss filled with joy and relief and the rewards awaiting God’s people? Or eternal judgment, away from God and all those things you hold dear? Only you can determine which.
C. S. Lewis wrote this:
There’s no doctrine which I would more willingly remove from Christianity than the doctrine of hell, if it lay in my power. But it has the full support of Scripture and especially of our Lord’s own words; it has always been held by Christendom and it has the support of reason.1
C. S. Lewis was no intellectual pushover. His words deserve serious consideration. Problems have a way of multiplying. The good news is—that’s true only in this life—”How frail . . . how few our years . . . how full of trouble.” But once we’re in our Lord’s presence, all that changes.
However, should you choose to ignore this opportunity to secure such hope, the alternative results will be dreadful beyond imagination. Come to think of it, that kind of future would make Job’s trials seem like a piece of cake. Who wants a destiny like that? Don’t go there!
He Will Call