Luke 21:36 “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
The world is unquestionably a mess, so the question becomes, as Francis Schaeffer wrote in 1976, “How should we then live?” Jesus gives us the answer here, but it is the responsibility of each believer to seek the Lord for the details in their own life. Ever since Jesus spoke these words almost 2000 years ago, each generation has faced their own challenges, leading believers to feel that indeed they were in the Last Days. Obviously the end hasn’t come yet, but some of the things Jesus specified, such as the Gospel of the kingdom being preached in the whole world, (Matthew 24:14) seem much closer to being fulfilled today than they have ever been. Some of the things look like they were fulfilled with the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70, but John probably hadn’t even written his Gospel at that point. Timelines are always problematical, and getting obsessed with them distracts from what Jesus tells us to do in this verse. Each of us needs to remember that our own personal “appointment with destiny” isn’t very far off. We are to be on our guard against the many devious and diabolically clever tricks of the enemy, but at the same time not rely on our own strength but on God. Jesus’ kid brother Jude put it beautifully: “To him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy – to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” (Jude 1:24-25) Jude was obviously writing in a time of considerable turmoil and trouble, but he knew his brother who had become his Lord, and that was enough. We need to be the same way, on our guard but at peace at the same time.
The subject of “Last Days” and how so many people seem oblivious to the “signs of the times” came up last night at dinner with missionary friends. They have lots of young children at home still, so their emotional perspective is different from Cathy’s and mine, but they were in agreement that nothing can stop God’s clock. As I commented to a missionary friend from Hong Kong two days ago, I’ve learned the hard way that human effort on its own accomplishes nothing good, but God does use such weak, flawed instruments as we are to accomplish His will. My task isn’t to be great, it’s to be obedient. I personally would like to see such things as the moon and Mars colonies that are being discussed and looking increasingly possible, but that sort of thing is totally unimportant compared to the eternal destiny of human souls. I am to seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness, drawing as many people along with me as will come, so that whatever happens, and whenever it happens, we may indeed be able to stand before the Son of Man with great joy, when that moment comes.
Father, thank You for this reminder. Such reminders seem to be increasingly frequent! Help me be anxious for nothing but trust You in everything, allowing You to use me however You choose, for Your glory alone. Thank You. Praise God!