I have been a Christian since 1981. I never thought the day would come when I’d say I’ve been __ANYTHING_______ for thirty years. But here it is and I can actually say I have some hindsight which can serve my foresight.
In all my thirty years as a Christian I have never heard so much end of the world talk as I have in the last few years…. And I come from “pre-trib rapture, Bible thumpin’, say it like you mean it, the end of the world is coming, so don’t get left behind” Christianity! So when I say I have never heard so much end of the world talk that’s sayin’ somethin’.
It’s coming from pulpits, politicians, and goodness knows even pushers on the streets. We’ve seen Katrina, tsunamis, earthquakes, the reaching of the debt ceiling on Wall street, and renewed persecution of our Christian brothers and sisters across the globe. We’re experiencing the break down of the family and the rising tide of wickedness. As knowledge increases wisdom seemingly flies out the window. Meanwhile the spirit of anti-christ looms palpably just off stage. We know it. Even pagans know it.
So what’s a saint to do in light of coming events?
Well God has given several words I think are cogent here.
1. Don’t panic – Christians are never to be driven by fear. We are the people whose inheritance is “righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Ghost”. How many times does the Bible tell us to “fear not”? 62 times! and that doesn’t include the times God told us not to worry or not to be anxious.
But fearing not doesn’t just happen we have to work at it. Paul wrote to his protegé Timothy , “God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. ” 2 Timothy 1: 7 KJV Yet in the verse directly preceding this, Paul indicates that if we are to walk free from fear experiencing power, love, and a sound mind we have to actively stir up the gift of God inside of us. We do this in two ways:
2. Pray more – Christian, we are not praying enough. The Daily Bread is great and The Word for Today is awesome. But let’s stop thinking that because we pick it up and read it as the car is warming or the coffee is brewing that we have success in our prayer life! We need a prayer movement in the church like unto the Moravians. Nothing short of prolonged daily prayer by the body of Christ as a whole will keep the church covered and free from fear and despair.
3. Prepare Completely– So many people hear about the end times and start stock piling food and water as though somehow tuna and Poland Springs will stave off an earthquake. Preparing completely is first spiritual, then mental/emotional, then physical.
Spiritually we need to know we are ready to meet Jesus should He call for us today or a decade from now. We need to have clean consciences. Fear is averted when the child of God knows that nothing stands between them and the love of God. Frankly many of us have piles of sin between us and the Father that we have never let Jesus clean away.
Secondly we have to be mentally and emotionally prepared to bear whatever cross may come. Are we truly prepared to join with Jesus in the fellowship of his sufferings so that we might somehow attain the power of the resurrection? I have been really astonished at my own misunderstanding about suffering. I can talk pretty glibly about it but going through it is another matter. It really hurts. I am learning though that even “take your breath away” pain won’t kill me. It can’t. I have eternal life. While I know that, I have had to learn that suffering will never be anything other than…suffering. I have stopped expecting it to be great or enjoyable. I have come to understand it will always stink. I have begun to learn that the best I can do is ignore it and focus on the good things and there are always good things. I have also come to an understanding that suffering is not forever; It just feels like it when your walking through it.
Finally have prepared spiritually and mentally THEN I am ready to prepare physically. I am planning for famine. I hope it doesn’t happen but I am learning to ” grow my own”. Mostly I am trying to train myself to live simply. In America we have grown very used to our luxuries. I have begun to ask, “What can I do without?” I have begun to practice living with less. Preparing physically does not mean making it so I can keep my current standard of living. It means rethinking my standards and bringing them in line with what the Word says (and I have to tell you Americans have a skewed view of what prosperity really is). Preparing physically means listening to what the Lord says we should do to make ourselves ready and doing that. For some its paying off debt. For others it’s getting into better physical condition. For others it is building up a food supply. For all of us it is learning that God has always provided for His people in times of need even if it meant He had to supernaturally drop bread from Heaven every morning.
So what’s a saint to do? I guess really it’s just what we should have been doing all along.