Abandoned: in the Twinkling of An Eye :: by Alice Johnson Childs

I rarely watch TV anymore. Everything that’s offered on that thing that is truly the American “idol” is either useless and brain numbingly vapid, or else is utter trash and mind filth. So, outside of an occasional HGTV House Hunters marathon (which still glorifies narcissism, greed, and avarice) or the occasional “whodunit” on the ID Channel, TV has become unendurable. However, I do peruse YouTube some, yet another absolute black hole of intellect-sucking wasteland interspersed with a very few hidden jewels of truth here and there.

One of the things I stumbled upon while flipping through YouTube was one YouTube “channel” (I have since found out that there are many of these) whose entire purpose is to examine and document abandoned houses, buildings, hospitals, schools – you name it. In fact, there is apparently an entire global “fellowship“ of people who do this, who call themselves “urban explorers.” Who knew such an interest existed, and in almost every country on earth except probably places like the Middle East or North Korea for obvious reasons. I surely never knew such an interest in urban decay existed.

Anyway, long story short, I got hooked on looking at some of the abandoned homes that a few of these YouTube “urban explorers” were investigating. I became fascinated on three levels, and the more I watched, the more I began to see a glimpse of what it might be like after the Church is taken Home in that “twinkling of an eye” for which we are all so longing. Let’s take a look.

As I was wandering via YouTube, following this particular “explorer’s” camera as he documented several of these abandoned homes, three things in particular struck me:

1)The identity of the stuff that these former occupants had accumulated that they thought was important

2) The sheer amount of stuff left that at one time these former owners must have thought was important, but obviously had been left behind for whatever reason

3) The fact that all their “stuff,” including their homes, was now up for grabs by anyone. Everything of this fallen world, including their once valued “stuff” is in a state of decay and dissolution – everything.

These observations struck me anew every time I watched these sad, pitiful episodes showcasing the wreckage of human lives. These videos brought home to me the truth of scripture that says that outside of the Lord, “all is vanity,” and that for all of us who are vile and guilty sinners – for all who “neglect so great a salvation” while trying to hold onto the things of this world that wither and die like grass, is to be eternally foolish, truly deceived, and ultimately eternally damned.

The first thing that struck me when watching a few of these episodes was the worth or value of the things the former tenets of these houses thought were of value. I watched videos of houses that had obviously belonged to people who had very little of actual value, and some of the “stuff” left behind in places that were obviously at one time true mansions full of expensive things. And do you know what struck me immediately? Whether it was cheap, dollar store toys, low end, obviously cheap furniture, or whether there were thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of antiques, pianos, and linens, ALL of the stuff left in these places was WORTHLESS in the long run. ALL OF IT.

Whatever the reason these peoples’ “stuff” was left behind – it was ALL worthless to them when they left, and worthless to those who found it later – damaged, molded, and falling apart. Some people just abandoned everything for whatever reason, but most of the former owners had died. Still, ALL of the stuff left was WORTHLESS to them once each one left his home for the last time.

Secondly, it occurred to me that at some point in time, each person had to have realized that all those important “things” they had amassed in reality added up to nothing really valuable – nothing of lasting value that could go with them beyond the grave. I wonder at what point, when those who lay dying or approaching death, realized that those antique chairs, or crystal chandeliers, or that grand piano, or closet full of expensive clothes was not going to follow them into eternity? How many of those people, I wonder, ever stopped to give a thought to where their Immortal souls would be when they drew their last breath? How many of them were ready to die?

Looking at those places makes my heart ache and sends a chill down my spine knowing that, in all likelihood, many of them went into eternity lost without salvation. It was a sobering realization to know that I was perhaps looking at both the best and the worst that this world had to offer them, and that now they are in eternity either in Heaven if saved, or in Hell if lost.

Lastly, the thing that haunted me watching these videos was that these homes, whether humble or grand, were now on an even playing field – they were ALL rotting and falling into the decay – that the wages of sin brought into the world to EVERYTHING. ALL of these places are rotting; all of them have been left open to the fury of the elements, to the destruction of insects and vermin, and to the wanton destruction of vandals who only seem to derive pleasure from creating yet more destruction. It was incredibly sad and sobering.

Yet, at the same time, I felt the Lord impress upon me the reminder that one day VERY SOON, my own home will be left just like this. At some future yet imminently close time, “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye” ALL of us who belong to the Bridegroom will leave our earthly homes as surely as our mortal bodies will be changed from corruptible to incorruptible – from mortal to Immortal. At that blessed time our own houses will be left behind for perhaps some new “urban explorer” to find and to ruminate on what has happened – to us!

I know that many of us have already prepared “left behind” letters, boxes or bags of teaching materials, Bibles, and detailed explanations regarding what will soon happen, and some have even stockpiled food, clothing, and other materials for this very situation. To me, this is a good thing. We have no idea how long after we are taken that the left behind ones will have the freedom to move about unhindered, nor can we know who God will lead to our abandoned homes to find Bibles, sound scriptural teaching, and a truthful explanation of what has occurred – a meaning and answer to the great vanishing.

As I said, these videos struck a chord with me. Not only did they remind me of the folly of what we think is important, but of the transient nature of all of the temporal things to which we cling; but most importantly, that we will soon be leaving all this behind to be with our Father in HIS House among the mansions HE has prepared for us, and that even after we are gone from this world, our own abandoned homes can house a treasure trove of truth in our left behind Bibles, teaching notes, books, and letters to the left behind urban explorers, whomever they may be.

Do I care that one day someone will be exploring my own house? Ehhh, only in the sense that I hope it is relatively neat (as every woman understands), but do I care? No. I am more than anxious to leave this sewer – to go HOME.

And knowing that God has laid upon the hearts of many to have made the same such preparations for the left behind ones, I am excited and ready to go! My prayer is that multitudes will come to salvation after we are gone. I pray that our preparations will be used by the Lord to spread the gospel far and wide to all the left behind “explorers” who may come looking for treasure or adventure, but find instead eternal salvation.