Last Saturday was the date given for the end of the world. But we’re still here. I’m not really interested in bashing the predictions of someone else. Those who choose to dabble in predictions will have to sort out the confusion that inevitably ensues. I’m interested in why this is so interesting, and how I can better make sense of what God does have to say about the end of the world.
First, why is this so interesting? I think we find it fascinating because there’s something in us that yearns for more than just this life. No matter how much we focus on the here and now, there’s that nagging sense of what might lie just over the horizon of time. We really want to know what’s going to happen. If anyone says they have absolutely no interest in the future, we often suspect them of being too locked into the present, almost near-sighted. I think God has created us with a desire to know more than just what we see and touch and hear and feel. As one writer put it, “If nothing in this life truly satisfies, maybe it’s because we were made for another place.” Which leads to the second question.
How do we make sense of what God says about the future? It’s clear that God has something planned beyond just this life. John describes the “new heaven and new earth” in Revelation 21. All the mess, all the brokenness, all the decay, disease, and death…all that will be swept away, and God will restore and renew his creation. BUT, it’s also clear that we don’t know when that will happen. Even Jesus didn’t know (Matthew 24:36). BUT, immediately after telling his disciples that neither he nor they would know when, he urged them to always be ready. (Read about it in Matthew 25) In other words, precisely BECAUSE you don’t know when, live like it could be any day! Which is how I believe God desires for us to live. Like any day could be the last day of this life…of this part of the journey. And if you read the stories of anyone who’s had a close encounter with death, it changes how they live. If you really live like today might be the last day on this earth, it WILL change how you live! It will keep you focused on things that really matter. It will help you tune in to God and his plans.
So how will you live today? Will you live fully alive to God and his plans? If you do that, then all talk about when the world will end won’t bother you. Because you’ll be living this life in light of the next one. And that’s the way to fully live…and to Ignite HOPE!
– Pastor Mark