Yesterday, I planned to finish a chunk of edits on my fiction work-in-progress. They’re dangerously close to past-due, so all my attention was glued to the manuscript. I was editing a terrorist attack and imaging the sound of gunfire when a noise from outside stopped me in my tracks.
Automatic weapon fire, quickly followed by a loud explosion.
My heart lurched in my chest. My first thought was, “Whoa. They’re here, in my yard!” My second thought, “Who’s outside my house with an automatic weapon? They’re gonna hit my horses!”
I jumped out of my chair in an instant and raced outside to confront the shooters, no weapon in hand except a hearty dose of indignation. I arrived to find the automatic weapon fire was 1/3 of an old oak tree splitting off from the main trunk. The explosion was the sound of the enormous tree hitting the ground.
The catastrophe and danger I envisioned was nothing more than an act of nature. The only destruction was to my fence. A few of the bigger branches (the size of trees) had broken the wire in two places and knocked all four strands loose for a long stretch.
I heard the sound clearly, but failed to interpret it correctly.
Signs of the times
Jesus taught his disciples about occurrences, both in nature and society, and warned them to take note of the signs of the times and interpret them well. (Matthew 24:29-31)
“And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near. Luke 21:25-28
When we see and hear the signs He said, interpret them wisely. The shaking of earthly powers signals one important thing: Jesus’ imminent return. There's no need for dismay or despair, even if the signs suggest an expectation of terrible things to come.
If there was ever a time of dismay, of fear and expectation of what will come next, it is now. Powers around the world are shaken. Governments are in disarray. Citizens protest and fight in the streets all around our world.
We live in an increasingly troubled world, but there is no need for fear. From the beginning of the signs of the times, we’re to recognize a new day is coming. Though all around us are seized with fear and panic, we, the disciples of Christ, must lift up our heads with anticipation.
Redemption draws near
We serve a risen, reigning, and returning Savior. At just the right time, Father God will declare the moment, and Jesus will return on the clouds. We’ll all see Him, as well as the angels who accompany Him, and those who love Him will be gathered up with them in the clouds.
We live in a broken and hurting world, but this place of sorrow is not our home. One day, we’ll enter that eternal kingdom where tears and sorrow are not allowed. Only joy, and love, and peace.
Until then, recognize the signs and lift our heads, for redemption draweth nigh.