Or maybe not.
Or maybe it is.
Either way, you may have heard that a group of well-intentioned (I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt here) Christians has plastered signs and billboards around the country declaring that God will bring this world to an end at 6:00 PM on Saturday, May 21st. So, as long as you live a few time zones west of the International Date Line, you should have at least a bit of warning.
As I hear and read about this group, I certainly think about their apparent lack of knowledge when it comes to Scripture. We are told that Jesus' second coming will be as a thief in the night. Every metaphor and parable used depicts the surprise of the world. And Jesus himself said that only the Father knows the day or the hour. So, I must admit, the idea that we can nail down the precise date and hour feels at least ill-advised to me, if not down-right laughable.
But more than my observations of Scripture, I am curious about our response to this May 21st declaration. Some people, I believe, are led to genuine fear and concern. Along with the end of they Mayan calendar in 2012, doomsday prophecies seem to be more frequent these days. Hollywood has helped us imagine these events to be cataclysmic and deadly. If you find yourself in this position of fear, may I remind you that God holds the world in His hands. If and when it does end, it will be only at His command and in His way. For those of us who have found and placed our hope in Jesus Christ, this ought to fill us with great comfort and joy. The end of the world is only to be feared if it is a random event of unprecedented evil. We, however, have chosen to fear God. And if this is the case, the end of the world has no fear!
For others, however, these end of the world prophecies reveal a different side of the heart. Not only do we mock the idea that the world will end soon, we scoff at the idea that the world will end at all. If we are completely honest, we look inside our lives and realize we have no eagerness to see this life come to an end! This was what I found disturbing about myself this week: that though I questioned this doomsday prophecy for good reason, I also found no hope that it might be true.
You see, if we follow Jesus Christ, there ought to be a part of our lives, a big part of us, that hungers and desires to see this day come! The hope of heaven should so fill us that each day we long to see it come to be. I am not there, though I wish that I were. I find myself too content in the beautiful life God has given me on this earth. Have I perhaps forgotten, that all of this beauty is meant to draw me to Him and His complete beauty? Have I allowed myself to settle for mere shadows of the greater things to come? Have you?
So, while I am going to go ahead and prepare my message for this weekend, and keep paying my bills, I do want to live with an increasing zest and zeal to see one of these predictions come true. I pray that on your journey, you will find the grace and strength to do the same.
"But we are looking forward to the new heavens ad new earth he has promised, a world filled with God's righteousness." (2 Peter 3:13)
May it be so. Journey on-