I have thought for weeks, actually a few months now, how to communicate my frustration with encouragement to Christians in light of our current events. Since the beginning of the year I have seen so many posts of huge declarations that we are in the “end times” because of the Australia wildfire, locusts in Africa, COVID-19, and many other things. Post after post declaring these things and yet little have I seen encouragements of pursuing Christ, sharing testimonies, or persevering in the difficulty. Yes I have seen it don’t get me wrong. But the negative and confident declarations of the “end times” and the fear of such have far outweighed anything else I’ve seen.
“Then he said to them, ‘Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons and you will be brought before kinds and governors for my name’s sake. This will be your opportunity to bear witness.”
So many Christians see this passage and immediately declare it’s “the end times” meaning Jesus’ return is soon and they’re simply waiting. I actually have a big problem with this. This passage isn’t new. Literally 2,000 years ago these things were said, yet we act like we are the generation to be the ones this passage is talking about. First, let’s get something clear. This passage is about the entire time from Jesus life to whenever and however he returns. We aren’t special in that this passage is only about us. Yet generation after generation of Christians suddenly think that because a war is happening, or another famine, or another disease, is a sign of the times and another advancement in technology is the “mark of the beast”.
Stop focusing on the wrong things. Seriously, just stop.
Since Jesus died and rose again, we’ve been living in a period of history of waiting for Jesus to return. We’ve been waiting for perfection and newness. We’ve been waiting. And we will be until whenever he decides whether its tomorrow or another thousand years. My problem when people use this and other passages and current events to declare it’s the “end times” is that it means for many they are just waiting for it and doing little else. And then Christians are almost surprised that this world is still evil. Christians are shocked when we hear of another shooting, another war, another genocide, another murder…another evil.
Church, stop it. Please. Stop being so consumed by the end times. Let’s be honest: we have no clue what that looks like. And let’s get real for a moment: no matter when or how the end times comes or looks, it is YOUR end times because your life is temporary.
Here in Luke 21 Jesus basically says that this world will continue to get worse. Friend, it will get worse because it’s broken and full of evil because sin exists. People will either choose to live for Jesus or reject him and persecute those that do. People will continue to sin or repent. Why are we surprised by evil and the brokenness of this world and all the while just sitting waiting for Jesus to come back?
I am pretty sure sitting and waiting is not what Jesus wanted. Why would he give us the greatest love story of all time- one of surrender, sacrifice, redemption- just to want us to keep that a secret? He died for the world. Red and yellow, black and white. Yes we wait for him while also living the Great Commission. Our waiting is not inactive.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Why are we so impatient for his perfection when so many people still need him? Church, if we have chosen to follow Christ then we have the greatest gift to share to the world. Have you even shared the joy you have in Christ? Have you shared your story? Do you try to model your life after Him? I know very much how difficult this season is and I also know it looks different in many ways for each of us. I get that there is unknown, confusion, uncertainty, frustration, disappointment and more in this season. However, remember who Jesus is and what is our calling as Christians. This is an opportunity for us Christians to bear witness to the hope and redemption offered through Jesus. It’s a chance for the broken of this world to turn to him despite the awful around. Jesus never said it’d be easy, convenient or comfortable for Christians to live for him. So instead of focusing so much on the events happening in this world as signs of the times, focus your energy in encouraging people in faith, pointing people to Jesus, and living to the best of your ability to honor Him. And in doing have faith and trust in God. He will bring direction in the unknown. He will be your strength and help. You can persevere and overcome with Him. He will bring peace and cast out fear.
If you aren’t a Christian, and I’m talking about being more than just a church goer- a Christian, someone who has recognized their sin (wrongdoing and life without Christ), repented, and now try to walk with Him. I have a hope that comes solely from Jesus that in spite of the terrible awful evil of this world, I can have peace. If you don’t have peace, if you don’t have hope, maybe just maybe you can put that toward Jesus for real. Go beyond religion. Go beyond church. Go to Jesus and pursue him.