[forthright] The Downward Pull

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From: Forthright Magazine <ba@...>
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 2004 15:31:16 -0500
Forthright Magazine
http://www.forthright.net
Straight to the Cross


COLUMN: Heavenly Connections

The Downward Pull
by Tim Hall

As I open the closet, boxes tumble out.
Instinctively I am angered, almost as if the boxes
had planned this stunt to get my dander up. Then I
remind myself that boxes have no ability to plot
or scheme; it was the force of gravity working on
unstable objects. Even I become unstable as the
day wears on. As my energy level drops, gravity's
tug is felt more and more. I find it difficult to
keep from falling (into my recliner).

There is another downward pull that affects us
more strongly as the years pass: the recognition
of our mortality. Just as gravity tugs at physical
objects, so the grave pulls at our souls as we
draw nearer to that dreaded destination. Consider
the similarity of those two words: "gravity" and
"grave." Both beckon us to lie down in rest.

Job was jolted into sober contemplations of the
grave: "My days are swifter than a weaver's
shuttle, and are spent without hope. Oh, remember
that my life is a breath! ... As the cloud
disappears and vanishes away, so he who goes down
to the grave does not come up. He shall never
return to his house, nor shall his place know him
anymore" (Job 7:6-7,9-10, NKJV). Job, because of
the tragedies that had struck his family, felt the
downward pull of the grave, and it was dreadful to
him.

In our early years, we give little thought to the
issue of mortality. We are young, strong, and full
of potential. The world is ours and there is no
limit to what we can become. As we age, however,
our dreams burst one by one, and limitations
settle subtly upon us as dew falls upon the grass.
Our thoughts turn more often to the grave. We try
to deny the inevitable, or soften it with humor.
But the grave will not go away. In all of human
history, only two have ever escaped its clammy
clutch (cf. 2 Kings 2:1-11 and Hebrews 11:5).

Enter Jesus Christ and a stronger pull upward.
Paul declared the glorious news in this way: "...
but has now been revealed by the appearing of our
Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and
brought life and immortality to light through the
gospel" (2 Timothy 1:10). Immortality? It has long
been a dream of mankind. Searches have been
conducted for the Fountain of Youth and golden
elixirs that keep us forever young. All such
pursuits have ended in frustration, however, and
the goal of immortality has remained shrouded in
darkness. Until Jesus.

If we wish, we may lay aside our fears and
frustrations. Jesus came to do away with our dread
of the grave. "Inasmuch then as the children have
partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise
shared in the same, that through death He might
destroy him who had the power of death, that is,
the devil, and release those who through fear of
death were all their lifetime subject to bondage"
(Hebrews 2:14,15). Jesus has ripped open the
prison of mortality in which we cowered for so
long. Tragically, many -- some of whom are
Christians! -- remain inside the cell.

Yes, gravity pulls objects downward. So does the
dread of the grave. But Jesus came for the very
purpose of releasing us from the downward pull of
the grave. His pull -- a blessed pull upward -- is
stronger than any other force.

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