No exemptions

Have you ever wanted to just “go off the grid” and hide from the troubles of this world? I’ve seriously considered it more than once in the last 50 years. It seems between natural and man-made disasters, the world is coming to an end. I have friends who have stopped watching the news; they claim it’s too depressing. It’s very tempting to just check out and try to ignore what’s going on around us.

Jesus talked to his followers about such times as these:

You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are just the beginning of birth pains.

Thanks a lot, Lord…just the beginning? How much more can we take? But he continues:

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

This 24th chapter of Matthew continues with Jesus telling us that no one knows the time of the end, so we need to keep watch and remain faithful.

If you’re like me, you grew up reading or hearing about Christians who suffered for their faith in difficult places, like China or the Middle East. It’s easy from the comfort of our church pew to pray for the Lord to keep them faithful and safe.

Then we see troubles move closer to home. Fires in California, floods and hurricanes in Texas, Louisiana, Florida. Shootings in Las Vegas, Florida, Chattanooga. We pray for our fellow citizens; we pray for fellow Christians who are affected. We ask the Lord to build their faith, be a witness in times of trouble and … for safety.

I will be honest with you, as I saw the increase of natural disasters in our own country, I thought about my home state of Tennessee. Yes, we have tornadoes, but it doesn’t seem that we are faced with a continued threat of troubles from things like hurricanes or fires like our neighbors. I felt relatively “safe” in my current location.

When I thought about wars, shootings, drugs and gangs, I also said, “thank you, Lord” for my relatively quiet hometown. We are growing and have our troubles, but not on a level others face. In the security of my own home, I could safely pray for the needs of others.

Then Jesus told me that I could not rest on my false sense of security. This world was going to be increasingly shaken until his return, and that would include my world too. A group of “outsiders” are coming to town on October 28, 2017, and their arrival has already proved to be a shaking of my quiet spot in the world.

As I read responses and hear people talk, there is fear and trembling about what might occur, but this morning I found myself at peace in the midst of our own “troubles” (that haven’t even happened yet), because Jesus told us this would happen. No one’s exempt from being shaken in their faith, and he’s told us what to do.

Keep watch and remain faithful.

Grace and Peace

 


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