And Jesus replied, “I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43 NLT
For months, I passed the bare spot and remembered what had lain there.
Opossum. When they’re hit, a horrendous smell assaults the nostrils of anyone passing by. This one lay on the side of the road in the grass, and I saw him during my daily afternoon walk.
Day after day, I passed him as I walked. Had I lived in the country, the road crew—buzzards and crows—would have picked him apart within short order, but I lived in town. I watched his body slowly deteriorate until one day nothing was left but a little fur.
Many months have passed since old Mr. Opossum died, but the place where he lay is still devoid of grass. As if someone had poured salt over the area. Which by the way many ancients did when they conquered a city, ensuring nothing would grow there anymore.
I’m sure the various animals God created populate heaven, but not Mr. Opossum—or any other animals that have lived on earth. They have no souls. God gave only humans that privilege. And with the immortal soul—and the hope of a new body—we have more hope than the opossum.
Jesus told the believing thief who hung by Him on the cross that he’d be with Him in Paradise that day. Paul said something similar when he said that to be absent from the body was to be at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8).
Ideas of the afterlife vary. Some deny it. Death ends everything. Some prefer annihilation. Others hold to reincarnation—coming back in one life form or another depending on how good or bad we were in life. Still, others prefer soul sleep—believing our souls rest until some appointed future time.
The Bible teaches none of the above—and I’m glad. I wouldn’t want the fate of the opossum, nor would I want to risk coming back as one because I hadn’t been good in this life. Hope lies in a person and in a plan. Belief in Jesus as our Savior ensures forgiveness of our sins and connects us to God. Doing so also guarantees us a place in God’s new heaven and earth. With this hope, we can face each day confidently.
Make sure you have placed your hope in the right person.
Prayer: Father, thank You for giving us hope that never perishes.
Tweetable: Where do you find your hope?
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