UV 2862/10000 Death, Salvation and Resurrection
O LORD, thou hast brought up my soul from the grave: thou hast kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit
Psalm 30 v 3
The Lord redeems us and keeps our souls from going down into the fiery pits. Our bodies will surely perish and go into the muddy pit but He preserves our spirits or souls for eternity. He also protects us from a premature end unless it is His will. The enemy of our souls being a killer is constantly striving to take our lives but the Lord saves us from his life-threatening attempts. In the course of my life, I encountered several such attempts including two near death experiences, once by drowning in the sea off an island and once, in the world’s very first human bomb assassination of a national leader. The Lord was as determined to save me as the enemy was determined to take my life. In Psalm 91, it is written,”He satisfies us with long life.” In yet another Psalm, it is written, “ He rescues us from death.” There is always such a struggle in the spirit world between the angel of death and the Prince of salvation- the struggle between the thesis and the antithesis, the struggle between Christ and the anti-Christ. Who we identify with in our beliefs, words, actions and prayers determines the result.
People who undergo near death experiences or NDE have a completely different perspective on life, death and eternity. Having experienced the shadow of death personally, they realize the reality of eternity, the reality of God, the reality of the life after life. It alters their sense of priorities and they do try not to sweat the small stuff. Persons after NDE who are believers in Jesus realize the reality of the possibility and truth of resurrection. The connection with the presence of God in Jesus overshadows the fear of death that comes with their encounter with the ultimate risk to life. When I survived the human bomb explosion in Sriperumbudur, I was told by another believer, “Hereafter, every breath of yours belongs to the Lord.” It is as if I am on borrowed time to fulfil a greater God-ordained purpose. The words addressed in the uni-verse as “ O Lord..” is an expression of continual awe, continual gratitude, continual praise, continual thanksgiving, continual worship, continual acknowledgement of the saved individual of his eternal indebtedness to the Lord for saving him from the pit of death where no hope or enterprise or faith exists, from the pit of depression, from the pit of destruction, from the pit of degradation.
When Jesus wept at the grave of Lazarus, He was not weeping for the death of His friend Lazarus for He knew He would resurrect Him in a short while. But at the thought of how death afflicts humanity as a whole. Tackling the difficulty of faith in an invisible and invincible God makes possible the impossibility of resurrection. Resurrection power of Jesus is not experienced only in near death or death situations but in various life situations which appear hopeless like the grave but can be turned around completely by exercising faith in the Lord. Any lifting up of our spirits or upliftment in a situation where we are being dragged down is resurrection power. A lively hope is the oxygen of our souls. Keeping that oxygen running in our nostrils is the challenge of faith.
Prateep V Philip