When thinking about entering heaven, you don’t need passwords. You only need Jesus.
Sweat beads up on my forehead and trickles down my cheeks. My breaths grow shallow, more rapid. My hands start to tremble. My mind begins to short-circuit and shut down.
I’ve teetered on this abyss many times before, so I tell myself, Glenn, deep breaths! Focus! You can get through this.
Through what? Have I lost my way in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, where I’m precariously sitting on a white pine branch 10 feet up in the air with a pack of ravenous wolves circling the base of the tree, eyeing me up for their next meal? No.
Then why has panic paralyzed my mind and a vice-like grip of terror tightened across my shoulders?
Because I’m sitting at my computer, trying to log in to the WELS intranet My WELS Cloud. I’m stuck yet again on the screen that demands my username and password. I can’t remember either one.
The username was assigned to me, but what was it? I haven’t used it in months, and I’m not supposed to write it down anywhere lest villains break into my home and steal it.
And the password? It’s supposed to be at least 12 characters long, comprising an indecipherable combination of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. It must not be a word that can be found in a dictionary or the name of a person, character, product, or organization. It must be significantly different from any of my previous passwords.
As I’m punching in this AES-grade-level algorithm on my computer, I’m supposed to shield my keyboard from prying eyes—which also means I can’t see it. And while performing this daunting mental gymnastic feat, I should keep repeating, “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home,” while clicking my red ruby slippers three times.
I’m doomed. There’s nothing left to do but call the WELS help desk. Whoever answers the call will hear me whimper, “It’s far more difficult for me to access WELS Cloud than it will be for me to get into heaven!”
“How so?” he will respond.
“Because when I think about getting into heaven, all I need to remember is Jesus! Only Jesus!”
And that, my friends, is all you need to remember too.
When life threatens to paralyze you with fear, remember Jesus, only Jesus, who guarantees, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on bedrock. The rain came down, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house. But it did not fall, because it was founded on bedrock” (Matthew 7:24,25).
When your heart is breaking in two, remember Jesus, only Jesus, who promises, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, and do not let it be afraid” (John 14:27).
When you feel forgotten and lost, remember Jesus, only Jesus, who whispers, “Surely I am with you always until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
And when you’re nearing life’s end and thinking of heaven, all you need to remember is Jesus, only Jesus. “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
You won’t need indecipherable passwords. No checklist of good works or pious intentions. Only Jesus.
Author: Glenn Schwanke
Volume 110 Number 08
Issue: August 2023