Cumberland Times-News

June 19, 2008

You should be real sure about going to heaven

David Sandvick, Columnist

I recently returned from east Tennessee after speaking for a week at a youth camp. While there, I tried to get to know the young people and participate in many of the activities with them. Tubing on the lake, swimming, rappelling, rock wall climbing, and riding go-carts all combined to make it a truly exhausting work week.

It was on the rappelling tower, however, that I learned a good lesson. The 40-foot tower feels like a 100 when you are at the top looking down. Corey, the counselor who held my life in his hands, was still in training.

Amidst the ropes, harnesses, karabiners, pulleys, and helmets, I stood ready to walk backwards off the wall. Corey began his final checks on the equipment by tugging and pulling on all the knots and connections.

When he was satisfied he looked at me and said, "Well, looks pretty safe to me." "Pretty safe?!" I replied. "I think this ought to be more than pretty safe. I think it should be real safe. Or even absolutely safe. I'm not stepping off this wall if pretty safe is the best you have."

Later, it reminded me of how people plan for eternity. Many people are not completely sure if they will go to heaven. They say things like "I've been a good person" or "There's a lot of other people worse than me."

Some will even say, "I'm pretty sure." To that I respond "Pretty sure?! Don't you think you should be real sure when it comes to going to heaven?" In First John 5:13, John says, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." We can know for sure where we will spend eternity. We can be absolutely sure.

As for Corey, he convinced me to rappel and just as I'm hanging over the edge I asked him, "Are you sure this is safe?" He said, "Pretty safe, 75 percent of the time there's not a problem." Oh, he's funny.

David Sandvick is the pastor of First English Baptist Church in Frostburg.