What Scares Us?

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Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven.
    And everyone will see him—
    even those who pierced him.
And all the nations of the world
    will mourn for him.
Yes! Amen! Revelation 1:7

If you want to see people start turning pale, just begin discussing end-time Bible prophecy. Why is that?

I can well remember when I was a kid (yes, that’s been a while ago) that any talk of end-time Bible stuff would scare the absolute willies out of me. I know of adults today who won’t discuss the topic for fear of not being able to sleep at night. Why does this stuff tend to frighten us so badly? Let me offer a couple of suggestions…

Misconceptions

Full disclosure would cause us to admit that when it comes to what the Bible says about the end-times, most people know just enough to be ill-informed at best, or totally confused at worst. Very few have actually done a responsible study of the subject for themselves. However, there are all kinds of people out there who would love to tell us how it’s all going to work out through their sermons, books, and movies. Regrettably, according to some, the end-times is going to be like a never-ending disaster movie. They tell us in graphic detail about how there will be persecution, war, famine (while at the same time offering to sell you freeze-dried food to help you make it through), blood, guts, you name it. Who wouldn’t be scared out of their socks??

Now, I am not for a minute saying that bad stuff won’t happen. We know from the Bible that it will. However, Jesus also indicates that life may largely go on as it always has right up until the end.

26 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 27 In those days, the people enjoyed banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat and the flood came and destroyed them all.

28 “And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot. People went about their daily business—eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building— 29 until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and burning sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Yes, it will be ‘business as usual’ right up to the day when the Son of Man is revealed.” Luke 17:26 – 30

A lot of the really scary stuff (stars falling from the sky, water turning into blood, etc.) seems to happen just prior to the Lord returning (you can study this out in the Revelation). The truth is, however, none of us really knows how this will all play out on the stage of the world. All I am saying is that we need to be careful what we buy into, especially when it points us toward fear rather than the hope that the King’s return is suppose to give us.

Family

Years ago I had a lovely Christian friend that truly loved the Lord and had a genuine assurance of their salvation. However, they went through a period in their life when any time they saw anything regarding the Lord’s return, it sent them into an absolute panic. It made no sense. So, they brought the matter to the Lord in prayer. The Lord revealed to them that their panic came from their concern over their children. What would happen to them? Would they make it through? All the normal concerns any loving parent would have. The Lord also gave them the comforting assurance that just like He cared for them when life was “normal,” He would take care of them during those times as well. That left my friend with peace.

I get it. At the time of this post, I have three grandsons that I love with all my heart. I would give my life to spare them from any sort of pain. Plus, I would love to see them grow up, get married, have a career, and give me great-grandkids. However, I also know that I cannot completely spare them from the harsh realities of this life, and I am not in charge of the King’s timeline. The God I serve, however, has heard my prayers for those little boys, and He will not forget about them, no matter what comes.

It is also understandable if there is some agitation because we have unsaved loved ones. They will come out of the wrong side of the equation when the King returns to judge the living and the dead. We should be concerned! However, instead of worrying about it, we should be grateful that every day we are given is another day they have to come to know the Lord and be saved.

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 2 Peter 3:9

Instead of fretting about it, maybe we should step up our praying for them. What do you think?

Lifestyle

This is somewhat akin to the first point above. Let’s face it, we in North America have had it pretty good. Even the poorest among us live pretty well compared to the poor in other countries. As selfish as it sounds, some people are uncomfortable hearing about the end-times because they are afraid they will lose their current lifestyle. I mean, what would we do without the Internet, three heaping meals a day, or toilet paper!! This honestly concerns me somewhat because I can’t help but wonder how far some so-called Christian people will be willing to compromise just to maintain some semblance of their current lifestyle.

Folks, what we have to remember is that what we are heading for is so amazing that it makes this current world look paltry by comparison.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” Revelation 21:1 – 4

Herein lies part of the problem, we haven’t spent enough time meditating on the glories that are yet to come. We have been so focused on what might be that we have failed to fully appreciate what will be. Anything we may suffer will be completely eclipsed by the glory we will experience at Christ’s return. As the apostle Paul wrote,

Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later. Romans 8:18

Hope

As we read through the New Testament, we constantly see that the Lord’s return is to fill us with hope. While it should sober us, it should also comfort us. That is when faith will turn to sight. That is when we will experience the fullness of our salvation. Focusing on these things will help us experience the confident hope-filled expectancy that comes from living in the Reign.

M

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

 

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