Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Do not be alarmed

Matthew 24: 3-12: "As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" Jesus answered: "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”

I tend by nature to be pessimistic. I realize when I’m around pessimistic people I become more pessimistic.

I visited with a man at work this week; he vented all the negative stuff related to our business, the culture and the world. He dumped the whole load, probably it needed dumping.

I realize the culture is heading towards oblivion (Matt. 24: 4-12), but Jesus in Matt. 24:6 says “but see to it that you are not alarmed.” He has told us in advance what is going to happen so we shouldn’t be alarmed, we shouldn’t lose our head or wring our hands in pessimistic anxiety.

When Jesus says “don’t be alarmed” He is telling us, when you see all this wickedness happening, remember, I’m still on the throne. I’m still in control. I am still God. I am Sovereign. Don’t be alarmed.

I heard a story recently about a scarlet fever outbreak in Stearns County Minnesota during the 1850's; Stearns County was just being settled. A farm family had five children, four had passed away from the scarlet fever, and the last little boy was in trouble. The doctor came and said, “If we don’t get some ice and pack him in it he will die.” In the 1850's in rural Stearns County in the middle of the summer, where were they going to get ice? The distraught mom walked through the yard praying to God to spare her son, she prayed for ice. God in His providence sent a hail storm, they collected the hailstones and packed the little boy in the ice and he was spared.

Think of this, the neighbors gathered with heads hung low as a hail storm damaged their crops, yet a few miles away a mom cradled her little boy with joy. For God had answered her prayer.

We need to be careful what we call a tragedy; it may be a blessing for someone else. The neighboring farms viewed the hailstorm as a tragedy; the mom viewed it as an answer to prayer and blessing from God.

It’s obvious we don’t always understand God ways. “Don’t be alarmed" - He is still on the Throne.

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