"For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows." Matthew 24:7-8 KJV
Today there was an 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Japan, followed by a tsunami which is speeding across the Pacific. As I write this, it has already hit Hawaii and is heading toward the West Coast of North America. Please send your prayers up for all of the people affected by this disaster.
My church is currently studying the books of Daniel and Revelation in both our Wednesday evening Bible study, and during Sunday morning Sunday School. We were just reading this passage in Matthew this past Wednesday, which is why I was able to locate it so quickly. I suppose this is why I have had the end of the world on my mind. As this world winds down into chaos (yes, I believe it's going toward chaos, rather than away as the evolutionists claim), we seem to be seeing more and more reports of disasters, both natural and man-made. Everything from floods to earthquakes, from government overthrows to economic crashes, from sickness to death is broadcast world-wide to add to the sense of doom. It is easy to become stressed out and depressed as you realize that you have little or no control over the things that are happening.
There is something, however, that we can do. God is still in control. Everything that is happening now was foretold thousands of years ago, and there are clear directions for us to follow. Jesus gave us guidance in the same chapter of Matthew that foretold the disturbing events that would happen. Beginning in verse 42, he tells of a faithful and wise servant: "Watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing." Matthew 24:42-46.
Does this mean that our job is to stand around and wait for Jesus to ride in on the clouds? Yes, we are to wait. No, we are not to stand around. Jesus' last words in Matthew 28 tell us exactly what we are to be doing while we wait. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." Matthew 28:19-20. Our job is to tell others. At this time, we don't have the luxury of the "gospel of wealth" that is preached in so many places. Our mission is more urgent and more important than convincing people that they can have the easy life. Jesus basically said that it's going to get worse before it gets better. People need something more to hang on to than the promise of the easy life, because that is getting harder and harder to find. People need to know Jesus, and they need to understand what it is to follow him. Not as a "life insurance" policy so that they will go to heaven when they die, but as the promise of a new life now. Following Jesus comes with a cost. You will likely not become independently wealthy. Things in this life may even get worse, but we know that this world is not the end of our journey. Jesus said in John 16:33 "In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." I pray that he will come back to find us being faithful and wise servants. Come, Lord Jesus!