"Almost home!" I remarked to my passenger as we neared the turn in the road that would soon end our trip. "We're almost there!"
What sweeter words are there than "Almost home!" when a young couple with their new firstborn near the place they call home! Or, when a military recruit returns from boot camp and nears the corner where Mom and Dad or a sweet wife and kids are waiting for their arrival? "Almost home!" Oh, the warm embrace when they finally meet at the door! Home at last!
At the other end of life's spectrum, when a loved one has suffered through months or years of cancer or another terminal illness and they sense their life is almost ended, a loving family member or pastor whispers in their ear, "You're almost home!" Then they step across the threshold into heaven's glory! They have arrived!
Kids riding with their parents on road trips tend to ask, "Are we there yet?" To quiet them, Mom or Dad answers, "We're almost home." Almost, but not quite. Yet, for a time, their answer quiets the anxiety of the children in the back seat.
A statistic released a few years ago said the majority of automobile accidents occur within 20 miles of home. Not out on the open road or in far-distant towns and cities. Apparently the highway and unfamiliar countryside keep a driver alert on longer trips so he is more likely to avoid potential accidents.He notices everything and is ever alert to the direction he is traveling.
But, on the way home, once a driver spots familiar landmarks, houses, businesses and even streets and roads, he relaxes. Home isn't far away anymore. He looks forward to hugging the children, embracing his wife, or being slobbered on by the family dog! Suddenly, he's distracted by a change in the scenery that he knows so well and for one second too long he takes his eyes off the road to get a better look. Or, he may even take his hands off the wheel temporarily to adjust his clothing or to grab something from the back seat or...CRASH! Too late!
Almost home, but not quite! Almost home, but then he let down his guard. So close to home, but he missed it!
Sadly, a Christian on the way to heaven, his ultimate home, can be distracted, too. Ever since he was saved, he has steadfastly read the Word of God and lived obediently, according to its precepts. She has prayed and told others the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
But now, they rest on their oars for whatever reason, very comfortable with their faith in Christ and their knowledge of the Bible. They think they're grounded and safe no matter what comes their way. Whether or not they recognize it, they are most vulnerable to attack by satan in his most devious ways.
Or, check this one out: if they're ridiculed for talking about Jesus to their friends or threatened to be fired at their job if they mention anything about God again, they shrink back with fear. Bold and brave when the coast is clear, now they clam up and avoid mention of the spiritual lest they be called on the carpet or worse.
It will be like that when the antichrist rises up from where he's currently obscured himself, waiting for the fateful day when he can become the hero of a suffering world able to resolve the political, economic, financial and religious catastrophes of the age. He will present himself as a savior but there will be strings attached to his heroism: Bow down to his leadership and take a mark on the forehead or hand as a sign of your subservience. With that sign and only with that sign will you be able to buy food and goods to support your family. Only with that sign will you find employment. Everything will depend on your taking his mark. In a world that is hungry and impoverished, his diabolical plot will be so appealing the the Bible says even the very elect of God will be so desperate they can be fooled.
How sad that day will be when people who have been Christians for years and years depart from the faith because they are so desperate to have an immediate remedy for their suffering. They will sell their souls for the ability to buy and sell bread and water by taking the mark of the beast in their hand or forehead. In so doing, they will have forfeited their inheritance to go to heaven.
It will be said of them at that day: "They were almost home, but missed it!" Almost home! Almost to the gates of heaven, but they walked by sight, not by faith, and lost their inheritance of eternal life! Almost home, but lost! with no way to go back and know God again.
Each of us who confesses Jesus as our Lord and Savior is on the way home. None of us knows how close we are to arriving there. We only have TODAY. Death can snuff any of us out at a moment's notice. We have today and today alone. Even now, each of us can say we're "almost home." Jesus' coming for us is very soon. Make up your mind that you are going to complete the trip just as the loved ones in glory did who stand around the ramparts of heaven cheering us on!
You're not home 'til you get there. Don't miss it. Make your arrival to heaven the priority of your life! After all, you're almost home!