I want so much to be a universalist, to believe that because you love everyone and want everyone to accept you, they eventually will, that you NEVER give up on anyone, that your love really does win everyone to you.
Perhaps that’s why when I saw an article about a Christian mother whose son has vivid memories of a past life, convincing her and others that he indeed lived that life and reincarnated as her son, I was surprised by my own reaction. Whereas I am usually a skeptic, I found myself inexplicably drawn to this story.
I know you’re big enough to handle any question, stronger than any of my doubts or fears. Still, I wonder if I’ve crossed an invisible line. Have I, in my longing to understand all that you are, wondered about something that would cause you to reject me?
There is no doubt, fear, or question that can separate you from my love.
When I listen to your voice in my heart, I hear only love. In you, I see love personified. But when I read much of the Bible, I see an angry, vengeful God, one who puts to shame all who reject him and eventually casts them into a lake of fire.
How can these two pictures describe the same God? How can you say you want everyone and yet at some point give up on so many people?
What makes me special? Is it just because I prayed a prayer as a child? Is this act of mine all that separates me from “the second death”? The verses I read this morning seem to point to a person’s eternal destiny depending on what they do in this life. But so much of what we do or choose depends on where or when we’re born, how we’re raised, and what we encounter in life. You say you judge with equity, but that doesn’t sound at all equitable to me.
So I have begun to consider the idea that people reincarnate to give them many chances to find you. But so much of what I read in the Bible seems to rule out that idea. When I think of reincarnation as a real possibility, I feel a great love for all people, even those who have wronged me. When I return to these verses about your wrath and judgement, a sense of division and contempt returns. My heart says love points in the right direction, but the Bible seems to point in another. This is a huge issue for me. Please help me sort it out.
What if I give someone every possible opportunity, and in every case, they simply don’t want me? I won’t force myself on them. Am I to indefinitely hold off my promises to those who love me in order for the outliers to have a chance, yet another chance, to change their minds? Do you not agree that there must come a time when enough is enough?
Yes, I suppose so.
And at that point, what is to happen to them? Are they to live eternally in some sort of void in which I, love personified, am not? Would that not in itself be cruel? They don’t want me. Do I simply ignore this? Or do I show them mercy by allowing them to cease existing, to die one last time? And when death and my enemies are no more, I can finally fulfill my promises to those who love me.
But what about equity? Can one go-around on this planet possibly be enough for everyone to have a chance to find you? And what about the stories about people who have seemingly lived before? Am I to just chalk it up to demons as the church teaches?
Whether in one life or many, can you believe that as I do judge with equity, and I do see everyone’s heart, that I do give them every possible chance to find me?
Yes, I can believe that.
Then just trust me with the details.
That last sentence doesn’t sound like you. It sounds more like something I would say.
I know you do trust me, but your heart is filled with many questions. Give me time to show you more. I do care about your questions and want to answer them. But you are bound by time, and I can work with that.
Please view my next post to learn how God used time to clarify many things for me.
Photo credit: Marketa, https://www.flickr.com/photos/toffee_maky/7928636728.