The world seems to be crumbling around us. Cathy Ireland reflects on the many recent natural disasters and suggests what they could be telling us.
In fear of sounding like Chicken Little, from the classical fable, and recently made cartoon, who perceived the sky was falling when a misguided acorn fell on her head; I can't help but wonder if Chicken Little's perception of doom would apply here today. Reflecting on the string of catastrophic events we've experienced starting with 9/11, on to the Asian tsunami, hurricane Katrina, and the earthquake in Pakistan more recently, there is surely something amiss. How can so many disasters of such profound magnitude happen in such rapid succession? There must be a reason for this global chaos.
In the quest to come to some understanding perhaps we would be wise to consider the writings of an ancient book that reveals, with amazing clarity, an explanation of what these occurrences disclose. Jesus told His disciples, when asked about His second coming, that signs would preceed His return. In fact, Jesus tells us to “watch out that no-one deceives you... . When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed.
Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth-pains” (Mark 13:5-8).
What we know is this, the events we are currently experiencing are only the precursors of something far greater in magnitude: the second coming of Jesus Christ. According to the Bible, the coming of Jesus is a time of great triumph as has never been experienced in earth's history.
On His return, Revelation 21:4 tells us sin, death, mourning, crying and pain will come to an end, “for the old order of things has passed away.” All suffering will cease. In light of recent events, this is definitely good news! n From before the beginning of time as we know it, and even before that, a great controversy has been in play. Isaiah 14 reveals that Satan, an angel known originally as Lucifer, was cast down from heaven to earth along with one-third of the angels when he initiated a rebellion.
Satan's charge was, and has always been, that no-one would serve God out of love alone. Rather, he argues that human beings turned to God only for the “goodies” God provides. This accusation eventually was dispelled when God proved Himself in a selfless act that resulted in Jesus' death, described in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Since the beginning of creation every human being has had a choice to make; either to accept God or choose Satan.
There is no other option according to Scripture. In that sense the controversy has become up-front and personal. The decision of who rules over our lives has been left entirely to personal choice.
Despite Satan running interference and clouding our understandings with deception, God has not, and never will, coerce us into serving and loving Him. The decision is fully and entirely ours to make.
Choosing Christ gives immediate peace of mind as our sins are swallowed up in His forgiveness. There is no guarantee that bad things will not happen to believers, as the history books reveal, but we can rest assured knowing that in every circumstance we will never be alone. In Matthew 28:20, Jesus promised, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Also, consider Jesus' encouragement in, John 14:1-3: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
In troubling times, what could be more comforting than this blessed assurance? In the early 1970s, Hal Lindsey released a book that became a multimillion bestseller and, later, a movie titled The Late Great Planet Earth. Although the details of the book are rather faded in my memory, I do recall feeling fear that was quite compelling. In studying the Bible today I don't believe the intent of Jesus' or the other biblical prophets' revelations of future events were set out to scare us into action, but rather to comfort us and give us warnings so we would be prepared for the pressing times that will indeed befall us.
Over the course of this earth's history, Scripture reveals numerous times when God dispelled uncertainty with warnings.
The purpose of such was always to ensure that everyone had the chance to choose life. For those who were, or would become, believers Christ imparted knowledge that would make certain their ability to be saved; as in the case of Noah (Genesis 6) and when Jesus warned the disciples about the future siege and destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 21:20). In both cases the lives of those who believed in God, trusted what He said, and took appropriate action, were spared. Thus it will be for those who do likewise in end-times.
The signs of the end revealed in the Bible are there for our benefit so we will not fret away our lives with worry and concern.
In reality we are our own worst enemies.
Our selfish pursuit to have it all without regard to the delicate nature of Planet Earth and human need have consequences.
As the Good Book tells us, we most certainly will reap what we sow.
According to Jeffrey Kluger, the recent spree of natural disasters is a result of global warming. In an April Time magazine he states, “When the emergency becomes commonplace—something has gone grievously wrong. That something is global warming... . Global warming, even most sceptics have concluded, is the real deal, and human activity has been causing it.” Interestingly these global tragedies were anticipated and predicted in the Bible. We need not have been surprised had we been watching and waiting.
Thomas More coined the word “utopia,” which later became the title of his book that set out the qualities of an ideal but fictitious “perfect society.” Unfortunately his life ended in 1534 with his vision never realised, yet the idea of striving for it has endured for generations without fulfilment, despite humanity's best efforts.
In God's dream, described in 1 Corinthians 2:9 as something that eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor mind conceived of, the ultimate utopia is prepared for those who love Him. Satan and sin, pain and suffering will meet their justified end.
So let the sky fall. Come, Lord Jesus, come!