From a nightmare to a high-light
This morning, I woke up from a nightmare. The waking up was fleeing from what I was dreaming. I was walking on the streets, in between the house canyons in central Belo Horizonte, a capital in Brazil. I was there many years ago, so not used to know the neighborhoods and their names so well anymore. I knew that my hotel was in a different neighborhood, and I had to take a bus to get there. Looking from the distance, I saw the bus station. And someone there, amongst other people, was waiting that I knew, was related to me. So I directed myself to the bus station. When I arrived there, my mother was standing there, waiting together with me to take the bus. Standing there, looking around, suddenly I realized that my mom wasn't there, next to me anymore. I searched, she was gone. My next thought was: My mom doesn't know Belo Horizonte. She has never been here before. She is lost. If I don't find her, she will die. I cannot find her among millions of people. It is impossible to find her. I started to be in despair. But I knew as well, that it was a dream. A bad dream that I could flee from this situation and despair. I began screaming... So I screamed and woke up. And realized, it was just a dream.
Then I thought about a story occurred 30 years ago, when I was living in Switzerland. I knew a Brazilian woman, married to a Swiss physics professor. Both went to New York. She was not speaking one word in English. They checked in the Hotel. The only thing she knew was the Hotel name. So they went to sightseeing. He lost his wife on the streets of New York. He searched for three days. I don't remember the details, but almost miraculously, he did find her. Imagine his despair, and hers. She slept in the metro railway stations amongst the homeless. Without eating. Without money. lost. What a terrible sensation of despair.
So does Jesus see us.
Matthew 12. 12 - 14 If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.
Imagine the joy of my Swiss friend, and his wife, when they met again, each other.
The father's joy in heaven is much greater when someone lost in its sins, converts, and finds the father in heaven, receives forgiveness of his sins, and forever life.
When we think about hell, we usually imagine that hell is the physical pain of burning in flames forever. But pain is not only physical but also psychological. The pain that I was feeling about my mother, lost in the building canyons of Belo Horizonte, was psychological, not physical. The pain that my Swiss friend was experiencing, was psychological, was mental, not physical.
The pain that we feel when someone beloved of our family departs, is mostly mental, psychological. Not physical.
The pain that Jesus on the cross was experiencing, was not only physical. He screamed:
And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
Wiki notes that:
It is the only saying that appears in more than one Gospel and is a quote from Psalm 22:2. This saying can be taken as an abandonment of the Son by the Father. At the moment when Jesus took upon himself the sins of humanity, the Father had to turn away from the Son because the Father is "of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong" (Habakkuk 1:13). Other theologians understand the cry as that of one who was truly human and who felt forsaken. Put to death by his foes, very largely deserted by his friends, he may have felt also deserted by God.
The mental pain of separation of Christ from the father cannot be fathomed or imagined by us. The one, that enjoyed eternally the company of the father, separated from the father. That was probably HIS highest pain, beyond our imagination. Christ, at this moment, was experiencing the eternal pain of separation, which awaits the lost, the ones that reject Christ's gift of forgiveness and salvation.
Last week, I experienced the joy, to find what I thought, was lost. I love God's word. I truly do. And each time, when an archaeological excavation brings history to light, which confirms the biblical narrative, it fills me with satisfaction, because it is one more piece in the puzzle, which confirms the historical accuracy and truthfulness of God's word.
Gilbert H. Grosvenor, Editor, editor of National Geographic Magazine, wrote:
“If the ark of Noah is ever found, it will be the greatest archaeological discovery in history and the greatest event since the Resurrection of Christ; and it will alter all the currents of scientific thought.”
In 2010, the finding of a wooden structure was reported on Mount Ararat, which supposedly was Noah's Ark. When I took notice, it filled me with joy, but soon the claim was questioned, and after a short investigation, I concluded like most apologetic ministries, that the site was staged, and the whole story a hoax. The key claim that made me dismiss the story was that :
" The discovery was probably the result of a hoax, perpetrated by ten Kurdish workers hired by the Turkish guide used by the Chinese, who planted large wood beams taken from an old structure near the Black Sea at the cave site "
For me, this was sad. It seemed almost too good to be true. This would be the most amazing archaeological discovery, and enormously back up the biblical story of Noah's flood, and give credence to the biblical account in genesis. The issue was not only settled, but I thought, Noah's Ark would never bee found. I lost interest in the subject.
Recently, I stumbled on a Facebook post of Greg Thurston about Philip Williams, which was interacting at the comments section, and informed that he did visit the site at Mount Ararat, in Turkey, in 2014. In the last week, I convinced myself, after intense interaction with Philip, and doing my research, that the claim that the wooden structure was a film-set, is false, and with high certainty, Noah's ark has indeed been found.
I don't know how God will judge someone, that, out of pure greed and self-interest, hinders the truthfulness of HIS word to be confirmed, and shamelessly lies, and deludes others. I know that who is spreading lies and claims that the ark is a Film-set, has done huge damage to God's kingdom. But I know as well, that the truth comes out, earlier or later. What seemed lost, has been found. The greatest archaeological discovery in human history has occurred, thanks to Ahmet Ertuğrul and Philip Williams, which is rescuing what others have attempted to deny. Thank you. Last week was a highlight of my apologetics ministry, because of you, both.