It seems that there is not much stability in our world these days; all the things we thought were a given, no longer are.
Terrorism has invaded Europe, from Paris to Nice, Brussels, Istanbul and Ankara, Munich … and on and on. Not to mention – but we should – Pakistan, Syria, Egypt, Nigeria, Mali, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.
Schools, cinemas and shopping malls are not always the places of safety they once were.
Seeing news of another attack the other morning, I found myself thinking that perhaps the end of the world as we know it, perhaps even Jesus’ return, was really close. But then this phrase came to mind, “These things must take place, but the end is not yet.”
While He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached Him privately and said, “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what is the sign of Your coming and of the end of the age?”
Then Jesus replied to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and they will deceive many. You are going to hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because these things must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines, and earthquakes in various places. All these events are the beginning of birth pains.
But it’s not just wars and rumours of wars.
The noble ideals of the Olympic Games are now tainted by state-sponsored doping.
Major car manufacturers like Volkswagen are found to have cheated on emissions tests.
The referendum that was supposed simply to secure David Cameron another term as Prime Minister has resulted in a situation that has shaken world economies and threatens to break up the European Union as factions in other Member States clamour for their own referenda.
Presidential candidates – not to mention a certain foreign minister – are not what you’d have expected even a few years ago. Some are laughable.
Then there’s a major coup in Turkey, an important member of NATO and critical to the Syrian refugee crisis – a coup which sometimes reads like an excuse to round up thousands of political opponents.
All this reminds me of the verse that talks about the removal of everything that can be shaken.
When God spoke from Mount Sinai his voice shook the earth, but now he makes another promise: “Once again I will shake not only the earth but the heavens also.” This means that all of creation will be shaken and removed, so that only unshakeable things will remain.
But now for the good news! The writer to the Hebrews goes on to point out that God’s Kingdom is unshakeable!
Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakeable, let us be thankful and please God by worshipping him with holy fear and awe.
If we’re looking for a solid foundation for our lives in troubled times, Jesus gives us the answer:
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”
And then there is Paul’s reassuring promise that God is faithful even when we are not!
If we are unfaithful,
he remains faithful,
for he cannot deny who he is.
2 Timothy 2:13
And this well-known verse from Lamentations which declares that His mercies are new every morning: “Great is His faithfulness”.
I will never forget this awful time,
as I grieve over my loss.
Yet I still dare to hope
when I remember this:
The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in him!”
So if you woke up to more bad news this morning, don’t panic, the end is not yet.
Rather, remember this: Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”
In the words of this wonderful song by Steffany Gretzinger, He is the Constant One and we can depend on Him.
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.