Every day I see a new headline or post that makes me shake my head even though I know that I shouldn’t be surprised. Over two thousand years ago, Jesus told his followers not to be alarmed when famine, wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, and disease would start taking place all at once in multiple areas. He said that people would hate and betray each other and many believers would be deceived.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul gives a list of how many would act. He said that people would:
- Not acknowledge God
- Claim to be wise
- Idolize people and lifestyles
- Degrade their bodies with one another
- Lust for the same sex
- Commit indecent acts
- Have depraved minds
- Be full of evil, greed, murder, and deceit
- Gossip about and slander each other
- Be God haters
- Be arrogant, insolent, and boastful
- Be senseless, heartless, and ruthless
- Know the truth, but deny it
- Encourage others to do the same
Sounds a lot like television, movies, social media, politics, and the news, doesn’t it?
He also reminds us that one has only to look and acknowledge creation around us to know there is a God who made everything including us, so we have no excuse.
Everyone has free will. God loves us, but he won’t force anyone to love him back. If the act of giving up himself, his son, Jesus, to die on the cross and take all our sinfulness on him isn’t enough to show his love for us, what would it take for people to respond with gratitude, praise, and love in return?
But I understand that the majority of people won’t.
It makes me sad to see the heartbreaking mess the world is in, but we shouldn’t be surprised. Jesus warned us. So did Paul, who was once someone who murdered those who followed Jesus. No one is beyond God’s grace. He doesn’t want anyone to be separated from him. But if that is someone’s choice, God loves them enough to allow their choice and let them go their own way.
Maybe things aren’t too different than they were then. Maybe they’ve simply escalated to where they are now. Perhaps, it’s just that now we have the technology to see everything all over the world as it happens so we are aware. But we’ve been warned.
And we have a God who loves us and will see us through to the moment when Jesus returns to draw those of us who love him to his side. In the midst of all the evil, heartache, and chaos, Jesus is our hope and peace.
I may be surprised when I see the things that are happening in the world because I can’t understand why people would choose those things instead of an abundance of peace, joy, love, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. (The fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives when we receive Jesus.)
But I’m not surprised. He told us not to be alarmed. I believe Him. I’m resting there in the midst of the storm until I see him face-to face.