What do we do when it appears that Mother Nature is on a rampage, when the earth itself trembles? We have seen in the last few years, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, as well as both flooding in some parts of the world and droughts in others.
Although there have always been these “natural disasters” it seems they are coming at an ever increasing frequency. Whether or not you believe this is a part of the global warming predictions one question stands out for those who look to God for answers. What does all this mean on the grand scale? Are we sliding closer to the last days for our planet and the return of our King, Jesus?
It is interesting that in Matthew 24 Jesus Himself speaks of an increase of worldwide travails. 3 Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” 4 Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, 5 for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. 7 Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. 8 But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.
Yes, Jesus did not predict peace and prosperity for the world prior to His return. As people continue talking of building a worldwide utopia where democracy flourishes and everyone has plenty and gets along in harmony, our Lord tells us that “nation will go to war against nation” and the very earth will tremble beneath our feet.
But before we run off in a tizzy proclaiming that the sky is falling read again His words to His disciples and to us in the midst of verse 6. What does He say? Don’t panic! How could He say such a thing?
He knew what we easily forget. God is still very much in control. Things have not gotten out of hand and He is certainly not surprised by what is going on. Every person who has suffered in war or environmental upheaval is cared for by our Heavenly Father. None have somehow slipped out of His hand with a loud “Oops” resounding from Heaven. The problem is we take the short view of life where God Who reigns over eternity sees the long view. And though He cares about things as little as the number of hairs on our heads (thank God) He cares more about where each of us will spend eternity, with or without Him.
Now I don’t like to admit this. But I don’t know if I would pay God much attention if my life were too easy in this world. And since there is nothing special or unique about me as a person, what is common to me in this arena is likely common to us all. Come on, think about it. What we want from God is a comfortable life free from struggle and strife. And frankly, we are put out with God if we don’t get that. But God looks upon us and sees the danger for us of a life of ease. So He allows the ravages of sin and decay in our world to buffet us into either reaching out for Him or angrily blaming Him for our troubles. Either way He has the opportunity to shake us out of our complacency and into some kind of reaction.
Imagine your family is vacationing at the Grand Canyon and one of your children begins to pedal his bike toward the rim. The child is going along oblivious of the deadly drop soon to come unless he stops or changes direction. What would you be willing to do to get his attention before he plummets to his death? Do you imagine our Father in Heaven caring any less for us, His children?
It may take some time to really think this all through but perhaps all that God is allowing in this world in terms of what we experience as human tragedy is meant to save us from a deadly fall into the Abyss and be eternally separated from His love. This is what Jesus believed and spoke about. For as excited as some of us may be about a lovely royal wedding in England Jesus was looking forward to His own wedding reception in glory with all of us when He spoke those difficult words in Matthew 24.
Maranatha (come quickly Lord Jesus!)