In Mark 13, a pretty graphic picture is painted of the end of days. Believers arrested, flogged, deceived. False prophets, some of whom can even perform signs and miracles to impress the population at large. The environment itself (sun darkened, stars fall from the sky, heavenly bodies shaken) in complete upheaval.
Over the years, there have been situations that could make you believe that this must be the start of the end (wars, natural disasters, people and countries lied to, mass killings), but life marches on. I know the big takeaway from this chapter is that no one knows when all this will occur, and that we should live our lives accordingly and be prepared to stand before our God.
A definite reminder to us as we go through our everyday lives, young (relatively), healthy and with what we think is an abundance of life in front of us, that there is no assurance of today, tomorrow, or anything other than Jesus Christ.
But as I went back again and read through the chapter, another thought kept running through my mind. We look forward to Christ’s coming but not necessarily the trials and tribulations preceding His coming. To me, it is a parallel to the end of life for most of us. We should welcome the end of our earthly life because it means we are going to finally be face-to-face with the Father. But we still dread the thought of dying, fight the end of life on earth and do everything we can to preserve our time here.
There was an elderly lady who occasionally watched our daughters when they were little. She had never married, had no remaining relatives and scant financial resources, but a love of the Lord. Yet, when she was on her death bed, she cried out “I don’t want to die”. Reluctant to give up the smaller gratifications of what she knew was presently around her for the greater reward of eternal life. Just human nature, I guess.