It seems like everytime I turn on the news some new natural disaster has occured or a new war is breaking out or peace talks in the Middle East are on again. This gets me thinking about the end times and how it seems like we are close to them. Of course, things have happened in every generation to make people think that may be the case. Given my flesh pattern of worry, anxiety, and selfishness I immediately start to think about what may happen if we are here for part of the tribulation (which is the belief that our church adopts-pre wrath) or what if Jesus really comes back by surprise and there is a great evacuation of all believers (pre trib) or what if we are here for the whole thing and are hunted down and killed like animals by the anti-christ and his followers (post trib)? Can you tell I have a grand imagination and could easily give myself ulcers or sink into a deep depression? I think Satan would love that!
Ok so I am not an expert on the end times by any means. We studied it at church and I've listened to radio and online teaching from respected preachers and teachers and I've done inductive bible studies on Daniel and Revelation. With all of the different view points on the end times I really just ended up more confused than anything else. Depending on who you're listening to at the time you can believe any of the above mentioned scenerios. I've done some studying to find the truth on my on and what did I discover?
"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come." Matt. 24:42
"But the day of the Lord will come like a theif." 2 Peter 3:10
"for you know very well that the day of Lord will come like a theif in the night." 1 Thess. 5:2
In other words, no one knows when the end of time will come but God. I also think that no one idea about the rapture and tribulation is without flaw. So in light of this, what do I do with all of my random, crazy thoughts every time I see something in the news that can be interpreted as a "sign of the end times"?
#1) I have to choose to believe that God is God and He is in control.
Mark 9:24 says, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief."
"Be still, and know that I am God..." Psalm 46:10
#2) I have to choose to trust my time is not my own but God's.
"But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, "You are my God." My times are in your hands..."
Psalm 31: 14-15
"All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
Psalm 139: 16b
#3) I have to choose to enjoy the peace of God that is mine as His child.
"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you."
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27
#4) I have to choose to walk in faith on a daily basis.
"Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Heb. 11:1
Entire chapter of Heb. 11
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2Tim. 4:7
#5) I have to choose to pray continually.
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:6
I could go on and on but you get the idea. God's Word is full of His promises to us as believers. He will not forsake us and our purpose in life is to glorify Him. So whatever He has in store for us we just need to sit back and let God be God. All that matters in the end is hearing "well done good and faithful servant come and share your master's happiness." I think if we focused on the eternal things and not earthly ones our mind set would be completely different. Instead of fear we'd be excited to see these things happenning. It means that eternity is on the horizon. We'll be worshipping at the feet of Jesus and walking the new earth with our loved ones (who believein Christ) before we know it! This life on earth is just temporary and we'd do well to remember that. We need to be doing all we can for the kingdom while we are here not just focusing on ourselves and our small section of the big picture He is painting.
When I renew my mind with all of this truth I am comforted and can move on in Christ to fulfill my destiny He has already determined for me. I may have to remind myself every few minutes, but thank God His Word never changes!
I'll leave you with two of my favorite passages of scripture that nourishes my soul when I am afraid of the future:
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave or forsake you." Deut. 31:6
"We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you."