This morning on the way to school my 6-year-old daughter asked me if cats had 9 lives.
How do you explain this to a Kindergartener?
Me: No, Hope, cats only have one life. People say cats have 9 lives because unfortunately cats have a way of escaping dangerous situations.
Hope: What about dogs? Do they only have one life?
Me: Yes, every living thing has one life. Dogs, cats…even humans. The Bible says that we have one life to live. We are born, and then one day we will die (at this point I’m starting to realize how morbid this is for the short drive to school). But the Bible also says that if we know Jesus, when we die we will have eternal life in Heaven with Him.
“Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, 28 so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:27-28 NIV).
At this point in the conversation with Hope, my mind trailed off to thinking…what I just said sounds crazy.
Eternal life…life that never, ever ends. In a place called Heaven – a place we’ve never seen and cannot describe. With a person we have only read about named Jesus.
Maybe that does sound crazy.
But a story that explains how a God,
who is loving and gracious and unchanging,
created you and me and everything else,
and then endured the rebellion of those whom He created in His very image…
then made a way for us to know Him and find life in Him
by sacrificing His own Son in order to endure the punishment due each one of us
and then raising Him from the dead to prove He is who He says He is…
so that we could live on earth becoming more like the people we were created to be
and then live eternally with our God who loves us…
I’m taking that story, no matter how crazy it seems.
In the depth of my soul I feel the gnawing need for this truth. I’ve bought in. Because if it’s NOT true…I’ve lived a life pursuing integrity, honor, and compassion for others; I’ve experienced the love of a virtuous woman; I’ve been spared some of the devastating consequences of sin (living like there is no God); I’ve seen life-changing miracles and I’ve offered comfort in the midst of pain and grief. What have I lost?
And if it IS true (and I believe it is, for the record), then I get all of that AND an eternal life that no longer includes all the baggage of this broken life.
Me and you and cats have one thing in common: We have one life to live here on earth. But you and I have the living hope (1 Peter 1:3) of eternal life in Jesus!
(And yes, that means cats don’t go to heaven. Amen.)
And all of that was on the way to school. Whew.