End time prophecies can be scary. No one wants to die. None of us want to face hard times, tribulations, imprisonment or torture. It is natural for us to either hope that end time events won’t happen during our lifetime or simply do our best not to think about it. Fear is a natural human reaction to any real or perceived threat we face. While some Christians have unfortunately embraced an eschatological (end time) view that removed any possibility that faithful Christians will face the final great tribulation period, that isn’t what the Bible nor Jesus teach.
Consider just a few Bible verses of Jesus’ words:
John 15:20 – “Remember the word that I said to you: A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.”
Luke 6:22-23 – “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.”
Matthew 24:9 – ““Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.”
Jesus has promised us hard times. He predicted that the whole world would come to hate faithful, authentic Christians. We shouldn’t be surprised by the hostility we encounter in our everyday lives. The true message of Jesus Christ is offensive to the one who doesn’t know or have a relationship with the One True God.
DO I TRUST MY HEAVENLY FATHER?
God doesn’t want us to be afraid. He doesn’t want us to focus on the pain, persecution, and sacrifice that The Way demands. Instead, He wants us to look to Him for our help. To seek Him when we need a refuge. To know Him and trust Him so deeply that we are not gripped with fear but with love. Love for God and love for humankind. Love even for the one who is determined to hurt us and destroy us.
How can we cross over from fear to trust? Fear is a natural part of us. We can’t will it away. No matter what we do, it is always present, always stalking us. Does God expect us to do the impossible? No, he doesn’t. He wants us to surrender to Him. To develop such a close relationship with Him that trusting Him for our every need comes naturally to us. The amazing thing is that once we submit ourselves into his hands, He will do what is impossible for us to do on our own. He will fill us with His love, His peace, His joy, His kindness, His patience. (See Galatians 5:22)
SAFE IN THE ARMS OF OUR HEAVENLY DADDY!
While he was on earth, Jesus used the little children that liked to come near him to teach an important lesson. When His disciples tried to prevent the children from bothering Jesus, the Master told them not to prevent the children from coming to Him. He explained that unless one becomes as a little child, one cannot go to heaven. This teaching is deep and could easily take a whole book to unpack. For our purpose here today, I want to focus on only one aspect of that teaching.
When a little child faces danger, what does it do? The child immediately looks for one or both parents and runs to them right? My children ended up in our bed more times than I could count when they felt afraid. Somehow, being in mom and dad’s presence helps to ease the child’s anxieties and eventually, they resume playing or sleeping depending on the time of day. God calls us his children. Just as a small child trusts completely in their parent’s ability to protect them from danger, we must learn to trust God even when we face the most horrible circumstances.
Trust isn’t something that happens overnight. It is something that is cultivated over much time. Think of the people in your life that you trust implicitly. Hopefully, you have at least one person in mind. Why do you trust them so much? Chances are it is because that person has demonstrated to you over and over again that they can be counted on when you need their help. When my boy would do lie to me or do something that he knew my wife nor I would approve of, I would talk to him about trust. I’d tell him, “Son, trust is hard to gain and easy to lose. It takes time for someone to trust you and when you do something to violate that trust, it takes a long time to earn back their trust.”
God loves you and me. He is crazy about you. He longs for you to spend time with Him. He is a good father. He is kind, patient and loving. Like any good father though, he also knows how to discipline us to help us become what He intends for us to be. If we don’t place a priority on getting to know our heavenly Father, when the hard times come, we’ll find ourselves afraid and paralyzed. If we’ve taken the time to invest in our relationship with Him, however, when the hard times come, we can be in peace knowing that Our Father has us in His capable hands and we have nothing to fear because nothing can separate us from Him. (See Romans 8:38-39)