End-Time La, La, La-s
The end times seems to be the sobering topic of the day among my circle of friends. So much so, that at times I’d like to close my eyes, put my fingers in my ears, and go, “La-la-la-la-la.” Immature, I know, because the subject is ever before us. It’s not going away, so I might as well save my breath.
My guess is that many others—especially prodigals who perhaps haven’t given thought to Jesus in some time—are also now having more than niggling concerns about His second coming. Despite their la, la, la-s, doing life without God is becoming less and less appealing.
Jesus is coming again. That’s becoming increasingly clear as the prophesies foretelling his return are unfolding before our eyes and the world we’ve always known comes apart at the seams.
We who believe He’s coming anticipate it, pray for it, prepare for it. If we were gut honest, perhaps we’d even admit to some trepidation over how it will take shape . . . and we’re bracing for it. After all, we’re still a mixed bag of old man and new; we’ve not yet been perfected in love (1 John 4:18). And because we’ve never in history been in this place before, it can be unsettling at times.
Admittedly, I’m among those still needing to be perfected in love. I’ve had my concerns. Not so much for myself, but for my children, grandchildren, and great grands who are just starting out in life. As things progress, will they have what it takes to stay in faith? to overcome? to conquer and not be conquered?
God has been so faithful to address my concerns . . . and to shepherd my prayers in the right direction as only He can. First of all, without faith it is impossible to comprehend end-time events. Intellect isn’t the medium God uses to communicate things of the Spirit. Mere brainpower can’t figure these things out. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, the Life. Knowing Him is the prerequisite to understanding what’s going on.
It’s also impossible to comprehend end-time events all at once. We could scarcely take it all in in big doses. So, He gives insight in portions. I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth . . . (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit guides us into all Truth. Revelation of that Truth is intricately timed to unfold in such a way that we are able to grasp and prepare for Him.
The same goes for grace. Grace is ‘God’s empowering Presence that enables you to become the person God sees when He looks at you’ (Graham Cooke). Grace is available in abundance the moment we accept Jesus (Romans 5:2; 2 Corinthians 9:8). But we must learn to draw from and grow in that grace . . . grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18).
How can we accurately assess the end-time events of passages like Matthew 24—and its impact on our families—without taking into account the greater grace that will be available to us (and them) when the hour is upon us? If we are trying to process tomorrow’s trials through yesterday’s grace filter, it is little wonder that fear is present.
I am reminded of the movie The Hiding Place (the story of Corrie ten Boom and her family helping nearly eight hundred Jews escape the Holocaust by the Nazis during World War II, only to end up in concentration camps themselves).
One scene in particular stands out to me. In this flashback, Casper ten Boom is about to douse the candle at Corrie’s bedside when she asks, “Papa . . . What is it like to die?”
Such a sobering question coming from one so young. Yet, her father doesn’t seem shocked by it. His reassuring response is instant as he sits next to her on her bed. “When you and I go to Amsterdam, when do I give you your ticket?”
“Just before we get on the train.”
“So, with death. When the time comes, our wise Heavenly Father will give you all the strength you need.”
Decades later, Corrie experienced the reality of her father’s words. God’s empowering Presence (grace) sustained her through years of imprisonment in Ravensbruck concentration camp. What the enemy thought for evil, God meant for good (Genesis 50:20). After her release, Corrie spent thirty-nine years sharing her story of God’s incredible grace and ministering through worldwide tours and her many books. She finally received her heavenly ticket home, on her ninety-first birthday.
Increased grace will be available to meet whatever needs arise in our future. Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound (Romans 5:20). The much more grace is coming. His empowering Presence will enable us to not only stand strong in dark times, but to be effective witnesses for Jesus. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all (Acts 4:33). As sin escalates, so will grace be made available—and that in abundance. God will fully equip His Church to shake off her ‘end-time la, la, la-s’ and meet trials head on as she walks them out. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him (Isaiah 59:19).
So, Jesus, we pray for ourselves and the present and future generations of our families (and the Church), that we—above all things—would know You personally and intimately. Perfect us in Your love so we can shake off our 'end-time la, la, la-s'. Increase Your Presence that will not only sustain us in times ahead, but will enable us and empower us to be Your witnesses until that day we cross the finish line.