It was an ordinary day like so many others. Nothing stood out as different, even though we know that each day is unique unto itself. Each day contains blessings and challenges. The possibilities for the routine and for the surprising. Opportunities for good and also for the opposite.

In my dream I’m walking along a road. It’s a bright day outside. The air smells fresh. There are postcard-perfect clouds hanging in the crayon-blue sky. All seems right with the world. But as I approach a long and wide bridge, I know that something is wrong.

It’s a feeling that’s marrow-deep and does not come from me. A knowing that’s revealed before I see what’s happening.

People are walking on the bridge, but they’re slipping and sliding. Some are perilously close to the edge. It’s a long way down to the water below. No one wants to make that journey. A few have fallen and are holding onto the floor of the bridge, feet dangling in midair.

No one is helping anyone else because they’re not able to. Each person on that bridge is in danger of falling into the water. Each one is struggling alone. I walk onto the bridge, but for me there is no ice. My feet are on solid, slip-free ground. There are so many people. I hadn’t noticed from afar. Even though it’s a wide path, I have to maneuver around people to make my way.

I don’t have time to wonder why all these people are here. I rush to a person hanging off the bridge. I try pulling him back onto the bridge floor. He’s struggling and won’t let me help.

“Stop kicking your legs. Just relax and let me pull you in,” I say.

It’s hard to give up control, especially when you’re frightened. But this man stops struggling and allows me to help. Not everyone does. But I continue going from person to person trying to do what I can. Soon I realize that I can’t do this alone.

“I’ll be back,” I say to the strugglers. “I’ll get help.”

I leave the bridge, walking quickly to a nearby church. Inside, the narthex is filled with lovely, happy people greeting one another. They’re hugging, smiling, laughing. It’s Sunday morning and they’re getting ready for weekly worship services.

“I’m so glad to see you,” I say to a couple people. “I need your help!” But they continue talking and ignore me.

I approach others. “I need your help! There are people on the bridge. They’re going to fall into the water unless we help them! I can’t do it alone. They are so many.”

No one listens. I don’t know what to do. I realize there’s no help here so I go back to the bridge. This is where my dream ends.

This dream came back to me recently when I was sitting in church waiting for the service to begin. The following words popped into my mind: “Church, wake up!”

Church, wake up! There are so many people sliding into sin and it’s our job to help them. To reach out to them with the Gospel. To tell them of God’s love for them. To encourage them to stop going their own way, which leads to perilous waters, and to follow Jesus.

Church, wake up! It’s not about simply enjoying each other’s company and filling ourselves with Bible knowledge. It’s about walking onto those bridges where others are flailing and offering a lifesaving helping hand.

Apostle Paul writes to Timothy saying that the Lord “desires that all men be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4). Not just some. Not just the ones we think are worthy. All. If we’re not walking with the Lord, meaning completely surrendering our lives to him, then we’re walking on that broad bridge, slipping and sliding through life.

We need to walk on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ who died on the cross for each one of us so that we could be saved. Each of us must make the decision to follow him.

It’s not popular to speak of Hell, but it exists. In Luke 12:4-5 Jesus says, “… My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do… Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell…”

God alone determines our eternal destiny. Not all roads lead to Heaven. Just because you’re a good person doesn’t mean that you’re saved. “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only son” (John 3:18).

Church, wake up! Reach out to those who don’t know Jesus before it’s too late.

Kathy Yoder is a devotional writer. She may be reached at kathyyoder4@gmail.com.

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