I don’t know about you, but I struggle far more than anyone knows with feeling like a failure. All the pep talks in the world won’t cheer me up when I hit a slump. In fact, the only thing that lifts my spirit is meditating upon a precious jewel of scripture.
“Then I saw a great white throne…”
Recently, my meditations have been repeatedly drawn to Revelation 20:11–15.
11Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. 12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. 13 And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. 14 Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 And if anyone’s name was not found written in the Book of Life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
For several weeks now I’ve been pondering this passage. I’d never thought of it before, but I realized, that I would be in that great throng standing there. And the books (note the plural) would list all that every person had done, and I, too, would be judged. As I pondered that, I realized that there was no way my deeds would all be good. I also wondered if “books” plural meant one book for each person, or many books for each. What was clear to me is that it would take many books to hold the list of all the deeds of every person who had ever lived.
And then, with one simple verse of hope, another book was opened, the Book of Life, and whoever was found in the Book of Life would not experience the second death. The more I pondered those verses, the more thankful I was for all that Jesus (Yeshua) has done for me. But I was still struggling with feeling like a failure. Then, one day, as I prayed, I felt like I could see it happening before my eyes.
I can see the Books being opened…
I can see the Books being opened for all – including me – and hear the silence in heaven when a weeping God counts all guilty. The silence is broken “Bring me the Book of Life.” It is only one book, unlike the first set of books, heavy with evil deeds so many pages for each name, perhaps even volumes – my name is there too – the shame of it. One white-robed, with scar-marked hands carries the book and lays it open before His Father Only names appear and one by one they are called I hear names and see a rustle in the crowd. It seems like it should take a long time But in eternity, time has no meaning. And each reaction is the same – Who? Me? Even me? And the scarred man takes each by hand and escorts them to his father’s side. They stand there – beholding His glory, unaware of how brightly they shine. How I weep – certain there is no way my name is there. No way for a self-deceiving hypocrite scarred by little foxes fighting mundane darkness fouler than gangrene. And then – my name – is called. How can it be? Why didn’t You erase it? I can’t move – there must be a mistake. The scarred man approaches. “How” I weep, “I failed, I failed…” He wipes my tears away and takes my hands in His. “But I didn’t,” He says.
I’ll never read this passage the same way again
I don’t think I’ll ever read this passage in Revelation the same way again. Such grace poured out on us! It fills me with so much hope and joy and reminds me of so many other precious gems of scripture. To close, here are just a few. I’m sure, if I needed encouragement, you do too. My dear family in Yeshua, we are in this together. Isn’t it wonderful? Yeshua never fails!
37 Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and anyone coming to Me I will never reject.John 6:37
39 “Now this is the will of the One who sent Me, that I lose not one of all He has given Me, but raise each one on the last day.John 6:39
27 My sheep hear My voice. I know them, and they follow Me. 28 I give them eternal life! They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand.John 10:27–28
Music to encourage you
I’ll never forget the first time I heard this song and listened to the words. I just cried in thankfulness – not that others felt like I do (though they do, and it helps us to know we are not alone), but to hear voiced the answer – God is good and His grace really is there for each of us, every day and forever…
Featured photo is by Dvora Elisheva. Waves in the Mediterranean Sea before a storm.