I have started a Left Behind letter over and over and over. Every time I have, I wondered if it was too negative. I just could not get a "good news" message out of it as much as I tried. Then I would think, well, there are thousands of pieces of literature out there already - what more could I possibly say? Then I would begin again on a more personal note - and found I was doing too much "I told you so..." Well, I pondered that awhile, and I realized the reason I was so negative was because I was "angry." Yes, angry.
When I would address a certain person (in my mind's eye), I would get angry at remembering all the times they were witnessed to; or all the times they would say "Don't preach at me." I would think, holy mackeral, you were with me all this time...you HAD to see Christ SOMEWHERE in me! I would think of all the times they called me, or turned to me in times of trouble because they KNEW I had an inner resource (greater is He that is within me, then he that is in the world).
I'd think of all the times I had interceded in prayer on their behalf (and told them so) and they allowed it, accepted it, while they were still needy - but then they would turn away when the problem was over, never thanking Jesus for the outcome. Oh I would get angry thinking about how much I wanted to share with them - things I had heard and learned from you dear brothers and sisters in "cyber-space"....or when I read them a news headline that just screamed PROPHECY FULFILLED! and they would look at me like I had two heads.
I wanted to tell them - "Look, this is coming to pass..." "Look, things are lining up, the storm is brewing, Jesus will be coming soon!" But they would shake their heads, or say, "Yeah yeah, He'll come sometime - maybe now, maybe a hundred years from now...who cares?" ("where is the promise of his coming?") Some of them with a little more (head) knowledge would say, "Well, there will be a lot of people saved after that Rapture thing - didn't you say that?" And I would tell them not to take that chance, not to be so complacent and willing to make up their minds later for it could be too late - for their heart might be too hardened by then!" So what could I possibly say to them in a letter left behind?
I "felt" like telling them - "every time I witnessed to you and every time you heard and rejected it, it will be as hot coals heaped upon your head!"(Prov.25:22) But, hey, this is meant for the "enemy"! Not for those you love! But the truth is, every time they are witnessed to, every time they reject or put off accepting the Lord, they will be held even more accountable and without excuse. Those times we witnessed to them will indeed become 'as coals heaped upon their heads,'... .....we cannot remain silent....but so often we do.
Then I tried the approach to write as if from a 'heavenly' perspective. But, there is really no "good news" salvation message in the Tribulation. I think that the people who get saved during the trib will be those who never realized before the love Jesus Christ has for them. I think there will be little hope for those who have had all the good news preached to them NOW and still rejected it. Let me give you an example: Before I knew I was lost, I assumed that when I came to the end of my days (sometime in the far far future) that I would somehow be put on a scale of balances - my good deeds would outweigh my bad...and that would determine my rating in heaven (no, I never thought about hell much).
Before I knew I was lost, I remember a conversation I had had with someone when I said this, "I know WHO Jesus Christ is...but how can I LOVE Him when I have never known Him?" Now that was a prophetic statement, although I did not know the "deepness" of it at the time. I believe with all my heart, soul and spirit that was when Jesus began calling to me - He knew I was searching, but I was spiritually blind. This is what is meant, I believe, by "Once I was lost, but now I'm found..." I was seeking, but HE is the One who found me. The statement I made back then to a friend was the key - I knew WHO He was, but indeed, how can I love Him having never known Him?
After that, I finally realized that Jesus had sought me, bought me, and saved me, and that's when I could finally love Him. It was a heart thing. I had to fall in love with Him, not just know about Him...not just believe that He was the Son of God with my head....I finally could love Him because I understood that He loved me first! How can you not love someone who has REVEALED His love for you? When two people discover and declare they love one another, the relationship begins to blossom.
That is why I believe that the ones left behind, who will be saved, will most likely be those who are witnessed to by God's special witnesses, and who will come to the knowledge and understanding that even NOW they can be saved if they will show Him that they are willing to lay down their lives for HIM, as He once laid down His life for them.
Those we witness to now, know who He is, but they do not yet love Him. They may likely still reject Him in the trib because they believe love is tolerance at any cost, and they will feel bitterness, betrayal, anger, and fear. They will ask, as some people even now do, "How can this God let all these bad things happen to people?" They will blame God - they will say things like, "If He is in control of all things, why is He allowing all this evil and letting these catastrophies happen?" But, I believe that the ones who get saved during the trib will be those who turn to Him knowing they deserve to be where they are - left behind - and they will fall on their faces in repentance and will realize the only hope left is not for their mortal lives, but for a place in eternity with Him. And that is why they will be willing to forego the mark and die as martyrs for His testimony. This is the ultimate "Those who lose their lives will find it."
Thinking about this, where does that leave any good news to be said? There is none. And now I know why I am so angry at those I want to address in a left behind letter - it is because not only have they ignored or rejected my face-to-face testimony and witness now...but they will probably ignore and reject it even then, during the trib. And that makes me angry because I see the loss - I realize if they are left behind, having had every chance now to come to know Him, they probably won't be saved at all....and I am angry...I am angry like you would be angry at your child if you told him over and over not to play with matches, and he did not listen, and lit them and his clothes caught fire, and he was burned and scarred............angry like you would be at your child if you told them to hold your hand and not dash ahead out into the street, but they broke away and ran and was hit by an on-coming car.........angry, angry, angry....because all the pain and hurt and anguish and suffering and grief could have been avoided! But the anger isn't against the child himself!
The anger is against the lack of obedience that could have prevented the tragedy....because all the while you are knowing the lack of obedience caused this - your heart is breaking over and over, a million times over, because of the injury, because of the failure, because of the privation and loss. I got angry trying to compose a "left behind" letter because I know that those I love will be in a state of hardship in the trib and it is avoidable; and I am in a state of sorrow even now, knowing they may likely be absent from me for eternity. Have any of you who have children ever said this: "I'd rather be sick then have them sick." Have you ever thought, "I'd rather do this or do that for them, than to watch them have to go through this."
Well, Jesus our Savior did just that - He died for us, showed us He is Master/Conqueror over death; He resurrected and gave us the assurance He would do the same for us. Is God going to be angry at people who have rejected His Son? Yes. Can we be righteously angry at those we have tried to bring along with us, but who have refused to come? Yes....but the sorrow overrides the anger. Kinda like when your child doesn't listen, gets hurt, you want to yell at them "I told you..." but instead you are holding them, hugging them, wiping their tears and rocking them because they are so precious and you love them so much...grateful it wasn't worse, hoping they've learned a lesson, but nonetheless, so glad they are with you. But for those who don't accept Jesus Christ, there will be no "with you." They will be gone forever.
Right now it is hard for me to even think that. I don't want to face it. Perhaps that is why I can't write a left behind letter - I get too angry, I get too emotional, I get to sorrowful. How can I tell someone I love what to do, how to cope, after I'm gone...knowing chances are I will not see them ever again? How can I hold out an offer of salvation through Jesus during the toughest times of their lives, when they could not accept it during the best times of their lives? How am I to cope with this loss even now? Yes, in heaven, God will wipe away every tear, former things will no longer be remembered.....but for now, right here in THIS body....it is impossible for me to think I can forget those I love so dearly.
Well, if this isn't a negative letter, I don't know what is. Maybe I should just use it for a "Left Behind" letter anyway. Maybe those who read it will see and understand the anguish that we (who are saved) anticipate. Maybe it could make a difference. If there was anything I could say right now that would change someone's mind about their eternal destiny it is this > GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD ....YOU!....THAT HE SENT HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON - JESUS CHRIST - WHO LOVED YOU SO MUCH THAT HE DIED FOR YOU - EVEN BEFORE YOU EVER KNEW HIM - TO TAKE AWAY YOUR SINS AND GUILT. HE WILL TRADE YOUR UNWORTHINESS FOR HIS WORTHINESS. HE WILL TRADE YOUR UNRIGHTEOUSNESS FOR HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS. HE KNOWS THE WAY AND HE WILL LEAD YOU TO THE FATHER IN HEAVEN. TRUST HIM. LOVE HIM...BECAUSE HE FIRST LOVED YOU! That's all. He will perform the miracle in your heart even though you might not understand it or "feel" anything different. That is what faith is. Faith is just believieng Him.
Loved ones, I want you in heaven with me...with the Lord Jesus Christ! Please don't play with matches...please don't run out into the street! I don't want you to be hurt. I don't want you to be lost. If I could grab you and hold onto you and never let go of you as I fly up to heaven to meet Him in the Rapture - I would do so. I would never loosen my grip on you. But I can't. So Jesus is extending His Hand out to you right now....take it.
When you do, you will be ready to hear His voice when He calls us up. He will never leave you, nor forsake you. Only then will my own heart rest easy to know you will be with us for all eternity. I love you! And as the song goes, "If love doesn't last forever, what's forever for?"
For all eternity in Jesus,