Spiritual Survival (Part 16)

The Thin Veil
by Rayola Kelley

Life is fragile. The Apostle Peter voiced the Psalms when he stated that all flesh is as withering grass, and all the glory of man is as the fading flower (1 Peter 2:24). James 4:14 tells us that our life is a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Job said that man born of woman is of few days. He comes forth as a flower that will be cut down (Job 14:1, 2). We are also told to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom (Psalm 90:12).

When I meditate on the fact that beyond the physical world is an eternity without end and time, I become overwhelmed. There is a certain awe that gently comes to rest on my soul as I realize that my time on earth will prove to be a short journey. I am reminded that in the physical world we are subject to time as it is broken down in moments, minutes, days, months, and years.  Time reminds me that all matters done in this body, good, indifferent, or bad, will have an end to them and that we have a limited opportunity to discover the meaning and purpose for our existence. Even though we start out with high expectations in the height of youthful strength, we will quickly discover that time has a way of humbling our strength and quickly dissipating it as the measurements of time sweep past us in what appears to be a gigantic tumbling machine. As believers, our character and faith will be tossed around by the matters of life, but we will see that such times are designed to separate the dross of our lives from the silver of Jesus’ precious redemption. It is from the perspective of my preparation and heavenly citizenship that I remember I am a stranger who is passing through this present world, as well as a pilgrim who by faith is looking for my spiritual destination, a city made by the hands of God.

When we as believers think about our lives, we must remember that only a thin veil separates us from eternity. This veil is our fleshly body. This was clearly brought out in the case of Jesus. Hebrews 10:19-20 states, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say the flesh. It is through Jesus’ sacrifice of His body on the cross that we can now enter into a new way that embraces the unseen and the eternal.

In the book, “The Survivors Club” it tells of incredible stories of people surviving the most remarkable circumstances. As you consider each story, you can see the providential hand of God. As a result, these people have inspiring testimonies that show that no matter how hopeless something may seem, it might become the very avenue in which the miraculous occurs.

This book also contains facts and figures as to the possible reasons these people survived such events. In one of the author’s side notes he talks about an extraordinary helmet. In fact he refers to it as “The God Helmet”. “The God Helmet” is an ordinary yellow snowmobile helmet, but what makes it different is that it is rigged with magnets and wires. The creator of it, Dr. Michael Persinger of Sudbury, Canada, straps on the yellow headgear to the one being tested in his soundproof chamber, and exposes the participant to weak electromagnetic fields similar to those generated by cordless phones and computers. Ninety percent of those who have exposed themselves to the test describe experiencing what Dr. Persinger calls a “sensed presence.” Those who are religious describe the “sensed presence” according to their beliefs, while those who are unbelievers felt a detachment and a floating sensation, while a handful detected ghosts and demons, and one person insisted the devil himself had invaded the chamber.

Dr. Persinger chalked these experiences up to the imagination. However, the imagination must have some former understanding or knowledge in which to associate or identify a present experience. For example, the imagination of those who did not believe in demons, would not suspect or imagine that they would encounter such an entity while being tested. Imagination also cannot produce senses. For the mind to experience ecstasy attached to certain activities a person must actually induce it in some way. Due to our flesh being a thin veil, I believe that like the affects of hallucinating drugs, Persinger discovered a door within the mind that, once it is opened, people see into the unseen dimension.

      The truth is our lives and personal realities are fragile. 1 Corinthians 13:12 tells us we see through a glass darkly. We are all walking towards our physical demise to discover the eternal on the other side of the door. We are limited by a body that is subject to the workings of the world around us and foreign to the unseen world that awaits us. When I think that only a very thin, fragile veil separates me from that which is eternal, I cannot help but consider that each life is intended to leave a legacy. However, such a legacy will mean nothing unless it has been established in light of an eternal inheritance.

This came to the forefront recently when I was once again reminded of how our lives are a mere vapor. During this recent time, I lost a dear friend, Vickie, and my aunt Frances. My friend and my aunt were two distinct people. They both left me with a different legacy in relationship to memories and impressions. They both physically suffered in ways that could not be described. As we are aware, our medical system stresses quantity, but quality can be sacrificed during such times. For these two special women, the quality of their lives proved to be challenging. However, in the case of my friend, Vickie, she embraced life with zeal. I would often marvel at her as she took the challenges of her sufferings and turned them into badges of courage that made deep impressions on those around her.

My Aunt Frances, on the other hand, had to choose life in the midst of being ravaged by her personal sufferings. In essence, I believe she chose the quantity rather than the quality for the sake of others. Her heart’s resolution was always to see her loved ones happy and satisfied in their lives. The things I remember about my aunt are those moments that would bring laughter. This laughter was in reference to incidents involving my aunt that came to the forefront during times of reminiscing. Granted, they were not funny to her when they occurred, but the momentum they created through the years made them almost a legend as they were retold during family gatherings.

The other thing I remember about my aunt is that she accepted me for who I am. There was no pretense between us. Even though we sometimes started out not agreeing with each other, we could always come to the table of reasoning because there were no expectations on either of our parts. We valued our relationship and accepted the love we had for each other to be sufficient enough to come to the place of agreement and appreciation.

The day of these two women’s homecoming was also different. The day Vickie entered glory, she and I had studied the Bible together with Jeannette, Carrie, and another friend, Pam. I mentioned that one day, as believers, we will be resurrected in a new body. It was almost as if glory touched her face as she looked upward with the sweetness of hope towards such a promise. The promise seemed to cause her to soar on the wings of expectation. It was during this time that, as we prayed for her, we sensed God was going to raise her up in newness. We had no idea this promise was in reference to her heavenly homecoming celebration that would take place that very night. Before the clock declared another day, she was raised up in the glory and presence of her precious Lord to experience the new day that would mark her eternal rest.

For my aunt, I was told her granddaughter was playing Elvis Presley’s Gospel Songs on her phone. She held her phone close to her ear. My aunt had managed to hold on for eight days without life-support. The number “eight” points to “new beginnings” Her eldest daughter told me she was given the distinct impression in the night that it would be her mother’s last day on earth. According to my information, the song that was playing when she entered the door of eternity was “Take My Hand”. There is no doubt that the Lord offered her His hand at that time and she could do nothing more than to let go of what was and take His hand to embrace what is to be for the believer, completing her earthly journey.

Because of Jesus, we never have to take any journey alone. Whether it is through this world or through the door of death, He is there to lead us. Granted the valleys may be dark, the canyons deep, and the mountains too high to climb, but the Lord knows the way through, around, or over each obstacle.

It has become obvious to me that life is an adventure where there is much to discover, but eventually the path we are on will come up to the door of physical death. Depending on whether we have received the gift of life or not, will depend on what we encounter on the other side of the door. We will either encounter the loving arms, incredible presence, and majestic glory of God or the throes of hell in its utter misery, spiritual ruin, and hopeless torment.

Death for most people is a morbid subject. Most live in denial about it. They do not want to face their mortality. Some believe they are beating the odds, while others are trying to keep ahead of it by running some unseen race, and there are those who believe they are going to beat it. Although the days we are living in implies we are in the last generation and Jesus is coming soon for His Church, we do not know what tomorrow holds for us personally. We must be ready to meet Him at all times, knowing we will not pass this way again. Meanwhile, we must keep in mind that like the cloud of witnesses in Hebrews 12:1, we are leaving behind some type of legacy.

In order to leave a lasting legacy, we must be preparing for the world to come. The question is how do we prepare for eternity in a physical realm? It comes down to our walk. Enoch walked with God and was translated. Noah walked with God and found grace. Joshua served as Moses’ companion and eventually led the people of Israel to the Promised Land. Jesus walked to Calvary to secure our redemption. He walked toward His demise so we could have life. He walked a narrow way; therefore, He became the Way. It is for this reason that we are told to walk as Jesus walked and we will abide in Him (1 John 2:6).

It is all about walk. Our walk will determine what we expose ourselves to; and, what we expose ourselves too will establish who we become. It will also determine what we are being conditioned for. When I enter heaven, I want to be so full of the glory of Jesus that activities of heaven will be natural and fitting.

In order to get a sense of where I am spiritually, I have occasionally written my epitaph. This may seem a bit foolish, but it is my way of considering what type of spiritual legacy I want to leave behind. It is amazing how it has changed through the years. I realize that the change had to do with how much humility was present. My initial legacy pointed to greatness that the world ascribes to and not Jesus. As I matured, it became more about Jesus and less about me. My latest epitaph was summarized in one word, “Forgiven.”

My epitaph may seem foolish but I realize that if it is spiritual, it will become part of the cloud of witnesses that prepared the way with their examples for those following in their footsteps. It will be consumed by the holy fires on the altars of consecration, leaving behind a greater reality of God to those who dare to follow the path less traveled.

Meanwhile, what must I do to keep on the narrow path that will lead me through the door of physical death into the eternal glories of the world promised to the saints of God? To me the instructions surrounding the end days give us wisdom as to how we are to walk and stand. We must be watchmen over our souls and the truth. We must take heed as to what we are embracing in our hearts. We must learn to possess our souls in patience as we wait in abiding faith until His promises have been fulfilled. We must be looking up, knowing that His full redemption is drawing near. And, finally, we must pray always that we may be accounted worthy to escape the grave times of tribulation, and to be able to stand before the Son of man without shame (Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21).

The month of November is a time when we can consider our personal status in light of what Jesus has accomplished for us. It is a time of Thanksgiving, and we should take advantage of it by thanking Him for the life He has entrusted to us and ask Him to establish that life and preserve it in greater ways.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving.