|Posted by donnadawson on February 6, 2009 at 9:49 AM|
Recently, I had a discussion with a non-Christian who threw out the well-used line that "all roads lead to heaven". It saddened me because I know this to be so very untrue. It is like saying all math equations equal four. A person may really want to believe that. They may insist emphatically that all math equations equal four. But the reality is that scientific truth has proven it to be false. And in the same way, so many scientific truths point to the fallacy of the "all roads" mentality. Just think about it for a moment. Some people believe that we must be believers of one particular religious sect to reach heaven. Others believe that heaven is here on earth. Still others believe that we gain heaven through a series of good deeds. Then there are those who deny its existence entirely. Finally, we have creationist Christians who believe the Bible in its entirety. So, like the math equation, how can we all be right. My Bible says that without Christ's atoning blood for mankind, none of us can reach heaven. And that is a glaring contradiction to someone who believes that a smattering of kind acts will make us good enough. Obviously, one of us is wrong. So how do we know who is and isn't right?
I was faced with this same dilemma many years ago. And I'm a stubborn, "want to prove you wrong" kind of person. I remember clearly, picking up a Bible and beginning to read it with the determination to prove all those "dumb Christians who believed that silly stuff" wrong. So what did I find that changed me 180 degrees? I found Ezekiel 37: 15 - 23. What was so special about this portion of the Bible? Well, it talked about something about which I knew from a more personal view point--the restoring of Israel. You see, my father was posted on the Gaza Strip shortly after the nation was reborn. He was a soldier and his job was to help keep the peace. Because of his involvement, I had an intense interest in that area and time period--and I knew the details of the event. So when I came across Ezekiel--a prophet who had lived and died 3 to 4000 years ago, I sat up and took notice. How could he possible know that this event would happen so far into the future--our present? And how on earth could he have described it in such exact detail? In that passage, Ezekiel took a stick, wrote the words 'Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.' He then took another stick and wrote 'Ephraim's stick belonging to Joseph and all the house of Israel associated with him.' And then he joined the sticks in one hand and basically declared that a day would come when God would rejoin Judah and Ephraim--that he would gather them from all ends of the earth and would bring them back into the land and make them one nation with one king and they would never be two nations again. You can believe that caught my eye. Because that was exactly what had happened, including the debate over whether the fledgling country would be divided or united under one name or two. As I re-read the historical accounts of the declaration of nationhood on May 14, 1948 I was stunned. This man--Ezekiel--had foretold of the event with an accuracy that surpassed the best fortune-tellers of our day. And then I shivered as I read verse 24. At the time I didn't understand that this verse was an allusion to Jesus taking the throne and ruling over them in a future time. I was floored that Ezekiel even knew the first Prime Minister's name. Verse 24 reads, "My servant David will be king over them and they will have one shepherd." I thought it was uncanny that he knew that David Ben Gurion became the first king of the new Israel.
I began to search the Bible with new eyes--eyes that no longer sought for a way to spit in Jesus' face--eyes that no longer cried in anger for a painful childhood--eyes that no longer wept for the health issues that my own children faced far too often. I became hungry to read more--to know more of this book that could tell of future events with amazing accuracy. I studied the prophecies around Christ and backed them up with historical accounts. The more I read, the more I surrendered my stupid pride and my desire to control my own life. And the more I became certain that all roads most certainly did not lead to heaven. I went beyond seeking to self-reflecting. I had tried to be a good person. And deep down, I knew it wasn't enough. I had tried to ignore and even deny God but something always kept pulling me in another direction. A deep-seeded knowledge that I was wrong. I began to consume the Bible, appalled by how few there are on both sides of the debate who actually read it in its entirety. It was as though our lives were a model car and we were trying to assemble them without the owner's manual.
As I have aged--the closer I come to the end of this life--I have come to the conclusion that while all paths don't lead to heaven, they certainly can lead to Christ. He is willing to intercept the downward spiral of the drug addict, the prostitute, the thief, the murder, the business man or woman, the house wife or the seemingly innocent child. It doesn't matter the path we choose he has the ability and the desire to meet us where we are, turn us around and walk beside us as we begin the journey on the narrow road.