I’ve seen some pretty intense pictures the past few weeks. Perhaps you have as well.
A man’s legs are sticking out of the rubble. His entire upper body is buried.
Another picture shows a woman, belly to the floor, with one hand reaching out for her child who is a few feet away. Both are dead.
A picture from the slaughter in the middle east made me put my hand up to the screen to block its image, the sight of it was so gruesome, but it’s still there in my head. Bodies.. bodies everywhere. Women, children, babies, men. Blood and knives and slit throats.
Nepal, Syria, Iraq, Crimea, Israel, Ferguson, Baltimore, Chile, Gaza. The list is unending.
And now factor in the devastations that are not on a national level: a woman raped on a college campus, a man murdered out of revenge, a father who tells his boy that he is good for nothing, a little girl bullied so much that she’s scared to go to school.
Can the world bear this much pain? Will the earth literally hold up under so much evil? I don’t think it will. She is a ticking time bomb with a fixed day marked “finished” or possibly “going under some serious reconstruction.” He’s told us that.
“’Tell us… what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?’ And Jesus answered and said to them, ‘… For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come… the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken… Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’” taken from Matthew 24
Please read that. Read that slowly and think about it. Do you believe it?
Do you really believe it? You don’t have to answer out loud, but answer yourself honestly.
I believe it. I believe we are seeing it.
I believe people before us were seeing it and our children will see it too. That’s the thing with labor: once it’s underway, there isn’t any stopping it. Yes, there are breaks in between contractions but don’t let the momentary calm fool you; labor is still in process. We are always one day, one year, one decade closer to the coming of the King and the unbelievable amount of chaos, pain and suffering should be a constant reminder.
While reading two news articles this week about two completely different events, someone described the situation to the reporter as “the end of the world.” And wouldn’t those be accurate words for anyone living those experiences?
Put yourself in one of the cages that ISIS has set aside for Christians. Imagine the chaos of mass murder in your hometown.
Imagine the collapse of your entire city, everyone helplessly trying to run away while the ground beneath swayed back and forth. For many, that was the end. A sudden unexpected end.
And here I sit at home, tied to chaos only through wireless connections.
While many are trying to find their loved ones, hoping to find something other than a smashed body, my loved one just asked me to jump on the tramp.
“Ah, but Lord, how do I do this? What can I do?”
Pray for those who are experiencing immense pain and loss. Pray for comfort for the hurting.
And then something unexpected: pray for those here. Pray for those whose spiritual lives may be hurting even while they are surrounded in comfort. Pray for those whose pain and loss are not as noticeable. Peace, love, close relationship with Him… these losses are costly. Pray for myself! Humility, grace, forgiveness, love, discernment, faithfulness.. I need all these things and more to fight this fight.
At a family dinner someone said, “The people going through these horrible situations are feeling the urgency!” Spiritually speaking, there is blessing in that.
I want that urgency. We need that urgency.
“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” James 4:14
It’s easy to forget that while we live in fullness and luxury. Amid the hustle and bustle of everyday life and goals that we sacrifice our time to accomplish, do we ever consider that we are all just a bunch of bottled up mists that are slowly vanishing?
Morbid thoughts I know. But the reality of death always seems to awaken life. You do not even know what will happen tomorrow. Seize the day at hand. More than that, grab a hold of God. Grab hold of truth, right now when you can soak it in and not be killed for it. Grab hold of life in raw form: the breath of God breathed into your spirit. Your spirit will never die. This is life!
When horrible things happen in the world, a common argument arises: if there is a God, why does He let this happen? Where is His protection?
We are so earthly minded aren’t we? Physical, physical. We can hardly wrap our heads around a different realm. If it’s a blessing, we expect it physically. If it’s provision, we expect it physically. If it’s peace or protection, we expect it physically. But this just isn’t the way it always works!
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” John 16:33
Jesus Christ, Yeshua the Messiah, has lifted us high upon a rock. There is nothing to fear here! Our hearts are provided for with everything they could possibly need and more. Our spirits (again, the raw essence and very definition of our lives) are protected with a peace that can withstand any hardship. Through the ability to forgive, we do not need to fear being offended. Through the ability to acknowledge life for what it is, we do not need to fear losing it. We can’t lose it.
It’s only after we spend all of our time chasing everything that isn’t lasting that we lose sight of what it is all about. This is where we run the risk. We, who have all we need. We, who are always out to make more. We, who do not struggle with threats of earthquakes, volcanos, and ISIS massacres. Our lives are seemingly not at risk and yet they are. May these labor pains wash a wave of urgency over the entire Body of Christ!
May we join hands as Believers around the world to pray. Pray for those who are being led to slaughter. Pray for those who have just lost everything and will spend the next few years trying to rebuild. Pray for those who have lost children, parents, siblings, friends, and do not even have a body to bury. Pray for those in your own circles of influence, that our eyes could be opened to the importance of life and that every decision, action, and word said would be filtered with that understanding.
Certainly, greater is He who is in us than he who is in this world. Live this truth!
I really appreciate this short video by Pastor David Wilkerson called “A Call to Anguish.”
It’s only seven and a half minutes long. May our hearts be moved to anguish over so much that is going on in the world.