Excruciating and Unrelenting… Or Is It?

Just today alone, I witnessed a horrific plane crash in Taiwan, a fiery train derailment in New York City, and a brutal execution in the Middle East. Thank goodness (for me) these were sanitized news clips. I was not forced to watch anyone actually die, or directly see anyone be seriously, life-alteringly injured.

But make no mistake, deaths occurred today. Gruesome injuries changed lives. Families and individuals were deeply, irreversibly impacted. Anguished loved ones will mourn and grieve their losses.

Anyone paying attention has to ask, “Is this what life is about? Is this all we have to look forward to? How are we supposed to absorb this excruciating, unrelenting pain — these losses that occur on a daily basis? How do we make sense of it?”

Near the end of his ministry, Jesus predicted that such deeply distressing, apparently senseless times would come: “For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again” (Matthew 24:21, NIV).

But Jesus’ prediction did not end there.

Jesus taught his disciples that these times of great distress would not be the end of the story. This pain is not all there is. This world will not continue forever, suffering one loss, then another, and then another.

Because Jesus is coming back. And when he comes, he will change everything.

Everything.

Are you ready for it?

“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other” (Matthew 24:30-31, NIV).

Lord Jesus, give me a compassionate heart, prayerful words, and helpful hands for those around me who are experiencing the distress that our world is currently dishing out by the shovel load. Thank you for your predictions and promises that these times of distress will be limited, and will come to a complete stop when you return. Make me ready for that day.

Our Bible reading for Thursday, February 5, is Job 35:1 – 37:24, Matthew 24:1-31 and Proverbs 4:1-9.

Header image based on "PAIN Knuckle Tatoo" by Depolo, CC by 2.0