Maybe the world ISN’T ending — at least any time soon.
In the almost ten years I’ve been a fulltime pastor, at least one person a year has shared with unflinching candor that the end of the world is near.
I get why these words spill. Too many heartless or crushing tragedies in such succession are overwhelming.
Underneath these hard knocks is this softer truth: people are afraid, sincerely afraid. Rather than say they are fearful however, they tell me the world is coming to an end.
Let me be clear. I do not know when the world will end. I believe I am not to know this. 1 Thessalonians 5:2 says the end times will arrive like a thief in the night.
Apocalyptic subscribers have merit, or material. Scripture does speak to what the end of times will be like. When we get to The Big Finish Line, Matthew 24:37-39 states that we will be as evil as the people in the days of Noah.
Additionally, the Apostle Paul says society will descend into immorality, violence, and paganism. Add to this 2 Timothy 3:15 which asserts that we will be “lovers of self, lovers of money, and lovers of pleasure.” People will be “boastful, arrogant, unholy” and kiddos will be “disobedient to parents.”
In addition to what you just read, Mark 13:32 also gives us something to think about. In this gospel, Jesus speaks of heaven and earth passing away and then says, “However, no one knows the day or hour when these [end of time] things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.”
Since only the Father knows, here are a few questions. What if this isn’t the end? What if we are not even close? What if we (humanity) are stuck on this big blue and green marble for a whole lot longer?
I like these questions because we should be more active in the stewardship of the only planet we call home over Henny Penny thinking that the sky is falling.
I get that many headlines today are distressing. News can be hard, or hard to swallow. Wanting to “throw in the towel” or hang our heads in profound sorrow is understandable.
Yet we have options.
The questions raised a moment ago encourage us to be problem-solving, not post rants or nod in agreement to disparaging remarks that side with a single agenda.
There is a time to grieve, yes, but rather than snap, crackle or pop over today’s tragedies indefinitely (yes, I ate Rice Krispies as a kid), let’s admit what we do have control over: our responses to one another, our care for one another, and our love for one another.
If we are going to be here for a while longer, let’s live for the long haul. I suggest we continue not fearfully but faithfully. By faith, I mean faith not in ourselves; I mean faith in God and how collectively we can respond to God and, in turn, to each other.