That Saturday morning I had gone to visit my mother. She had fresh coffee, which means it was reheated only once (we’re of Finnish stock,the stronger the better). We were sitting in her living room and I was sharing with her the signs of the times.
She talked about how things used to be when she was a girl. Generations lived together. People lived with less. Everyone knew what it was to want for some necessity.
“Looks like we might be coming to that again.” She said in her matter-of-fact way between drags on her cigarette.
We went on to talk about family, town politics, new businesses that had opened in the area, and our favorite T.V. shows.
I left just as my sister came in the door. Later she told me Mom had commented on our visit.
“What’d you talk about?” My sister had asked.
“Oh you know the usual, the end of the world and all that.” Mom returned.
I guess I do talk about the end times quite a bit. But hey,we’re living in them aren’t we? It’s not idle conjecture about some possible future. It’s current events. If we don’t talk about it now with people when are we going to talk about it? After it’s all over? When it’s too late for them to decide for Jesus?
I think we avoid the topic so often because we want to come across as positive. We don’t want to be labeled as pessimistic doomsayers. I guess there is some validity to that point. Still we have to acknowledge that denying our situation is not optimism. We have to be real about the times we live in and yet realize that there is hope in Jesus if not in the world.
Habakkuk knew this truth. He said, “I heard and my heart pounded, my lips quivered at the sound; decay crept into my bones, and my legs trembled. Yet I will wait patiently for the day of calamity to come on the nation invading us. Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.” Hab. 3: 16-19 NIV
Habakkuk lived on the eve of Judah’s destruction. He knew what he was looking at and he didn’t try to sugar coat it. Times were going to get bad. Many would die. Yet there was hope for the true believer. If there was nothing else to rejoice in there would be God.
You know when it comes right down to it everything we have can be taken away except our faith. We alone decide what happens to that. We can place our faith in the shifting arms of our circumstances and fortunes. We can watch it vanish like fog on a summer day. Then again we can place our faith in God. We can walk by faith in His word rather than sight and we can watch as again and again we are exposed to the resurrection power of Jesus in the midst of a dying culture.
I may be a pessimist about the future of America and indeed the nations of the world. But there is an optimist in this pessimist for I see hope in Jesus.
“Because He lives I can face tomorrow. Because He lives all fear is gone. Because I know He holds the future, and life is worth the living just because He lives!” (Bill and Gloria Gaither)