“While sleeping careless on the brink of an eternal woe …” wrote Bro. Warner, describing how the love of Jesus had awakened him just in time to rescue him from eternal destruction. On the brink of woe–what a place to sleep! It brings to mind the picture of a man sleeping peacefully in a boat while the current rushes him steadily toward the brink of a churning waterfall. Nearer and nearer it compels him, and then without warning it sweeps him over. He awakens – too late to help himself. What shock, what fear grip his soul as he is hurtled to his ruin!
There is something about a sleeper that makes him a prime target for the enemy. His eyes are closed. His senses are hushed. He lies peacefully unconscious of any danger. The room may be burning. The thief may be prowling. The killer may be poised for his demise. He is unconcerned, unruffled, relaxed. He is thoroughly unprepared for the rude awakening ahead of him.
Perhaps history has never witnessed such a careless, unconcerned generation as that in which we live. People are unconcerned about God, about each other, and about eternity. What would have shocked our grandparents and our parents has become something we accustom ourselves to. There are things going on in our justice system, in our school system, and in our medical system that should be extremely alarming. The number of babies killed yearly by abortion in the world is said to be higher than the entire population of Canada. Homes are being ruined, and families are being almost defined out of existence. Society is coming apart at the seams; but is anyone concerned enough to change anything? A few are brave enough to lift their voices, and society admires them and listens to them awhile and then goes right back to its daily grind.
It is hard to shake people from indifference as long as tragedy does not strike them personally. Either they accept the thought that they are powerless to change things, or they simply put the responsibility on somebody else. Things do not seem as menacing as they really are. People have been lulled to sleep.
But even these concerns pale in comparison with the eternal woe that faces every soul who leaves this world unprepared to meet God. Life’s worst suffering is temporary, but hell will last forever. It is an inescapable reality; yet, people are not alarmed. They focus on what they see and feel right now, and because eternity seems far away, they do not comprehend the urgent need to prepare themselves.
We are bombarded by an ungodly society that does its best to keep concerning thoughts away from souls. Television, social media, the entertainment system – and even, to some degree, the educational system–are all geared to keep people’s minds busy on everything except what really matters. They feed a false sense of security and dull men’s minds to eternal realities.
The poison dispensed through this media has produced a spell that enthralls the entire world. We look around, and nobody is moving to prepare for eternity. Why should we break the status quo? What makes us think we are right? Surely the crowd cannot be wrong! And yet, the crowd in Noah’s day was wrong.
We are obligated to take care of our own souls no matter what anyone around us does. We must run for eternal life! Only by violence can we deliver ourselves. Hell is real, and souls are really going there whether we take the time to think about it or not. Shutting our eyes to the danger will not take it away. Awake and prepare, before it is too late!
Even we as Christians can be in danger of being affected by the unconcern around us. Problems we hear about which ought to stir us to action are easily forgotten when the next duty comes up. There are so many bills to pay. There are so many places to go, people to talk to, and duties to finish. Who has time to think critically? Who has time to pray fervently? Who has time to fight for and go win the lost? We ourselves do not fully realize the terror and absolute finality of eternity in hell.
Do you remember how in the Pilgrim’s Progress, Christian and Hopeful, just before they reached the point of crossing over into heaven, traveled through an enchanted ground? The air they breathed in that place tended to make one sleepy. It was the most deadly of all the dangers they had faced in their heavenly journey, and it took a constant watchfulness and stirring up of one another for them to stay awake.
Christian and Hopeful were not the only ones to face an enchanted ground. We battle it every day, and it takes only a little carelessness to rob us of much spiritual ground. We face the dangers of being influenced by an ungodly society. Little by little, sin would like to creep up on us and deceive. Little by little, if we do not keep guard, the influence of worldly thinking would like to find its way into our homes. May God arouse us and sharpen our spiritual vision! May we not fall prey to this sleepy age!