3 “Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?[a]” 6 And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. 7 Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. 8 But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.” Matthew 24:3, 6-8
As I said in the previous devotion, Signs of the Times, Part 1, I am going to be breaking this portion of Scripture down into a few segments based on the different events Jesus told us to be looking for before He comes back. Again, in verse 3, we see Jesus talking to His disciples and them asking about the things that will signal His return and last time, we went over the false messiahs that He warned them about. Today, we will discuss the wars and threats/rumors of wars, famines, and earthquakes. Jesus said this “will be going on in many parts of the world and that this is only the beginning of birth pains, with more to come.” I asked a question to myself and my husband about this…verse 7 is two sentences but one verse, and the first sentence tells about the wars while the second sentence speaks of the famines and earthquakes. I wondered if the famines and earthquakes come as a result of the wars. Apparently it’s all connected…we know that these are all the things that comprise the “birth pains,” but that was something that stood out to me.
So let’s look at these things for a minute. Are we seeing wars and rumors of wars now? Turn on any news station on any given day and you will likely hear about this country making threats toward that country and so on and so forth. This isn’t really anything new, but look at the state of our own country (the U.S.)…we’ve never been so divided. Not in my lifetime anyway. And we’re seeing this worldwide. There’s so much division and strife, and it seems it’s all just a ticking time bomb. We also ARE seeing these earthquakes coming in great intensity and increasing in occurrence…everywhere…even in places that don’t typically have earthquakes! There are also massive flooding events, out of control wildfires, volcanoes going off worldwide. It’s ramping up like crazy and we are seeing this daily, in unprecedented ways. I’m sorry to say, but it’s not “climate change”–it’s the birth pains that Jesus warned us about and this is just the beginning, with “more to come.” We know that famines are nothing new to mankind either and many other countries experience this, but the west…not so much. Not yet. However, they have been warning for a while about “dark winters” and supply chain shortages and whatnot. So who knows what’s on the horizon. God does! And our trust lies in Him. It must. He is the Calm in the storm. He is our Peace. He is our Substance and Sustainer…the Bread of Life and the Living Water. He is all we need.
So here is what I want to encourage all of us with. We have TONS of warnings about the end days and how things are going to look for us, as believers. And let’s be honest…there is a lot that is scary about all of this, and while we’re told to be prepared, be on guard, be watchful, etc…we can still question it all and if we’re not careful, allow fear to creep in and take over at times. We must be building ourselves up in our faith and dependence on God NOW, while things are still at the beginning stage of the birth pains. We should all begin to seek Him like never before, find our shelter in Him and learn to walk with Him in TRUE faith. I read a quote the other day by Richard Wurmbrand that said, “A faith that can be destroyed by suffering is not faith.” And a good word from a devotion that used this quote further explains, “There are so many powerful stories, so many heroes (of the faith). Some of them saw victory in their lifetime. Others suffered and died. That’s a harsh reality here. Faith doesn’t lead you on an easy road, and it doesn’t make the Lord your genie. Faith is more than just believing God is able. Faith is trusting that God is faithful – whether or not He does what we want Him to do.” (From Bible Basics Explained, YouVersion Devotional).
I give a hearty “amen” to all of this. We must fix our eyes on the Author and Finisher/Perfector of our faith (Heb. 12:2) and not be distracted by all that this Godless world throws at us. I wrote a blog post yesterday and we made a podcast last night about living a godly life in an ungodly world. Be sure to check those out too if you haven’t yet. The sole purpose of our ministry, walk, and life is to make the name of Jesus known to every person we have the ability to do so with and to help equip the saints to be salty…salt and light…in this dark world. We must be about the Father’s business, especially as we see the Day drawing near. It’s not a time to be scared, not if you’re found in HIM when He comes. Let’s be calling others to come and join us. We’ve been called for “such a time as this,” which means He’s entrusted us with a great responsibility. We’re not alone. Let’s do this, brothers and sisters. Let’s pray.
Dear Papa God,
We love You. We trust You. We thank You. You are worthy. You alone. You have given us Your Holy Word, Your Holy Son, Your Holy Spirit…You have warned us of what we should expect on this earth, especially in these days. We know that we don’t have to fear, for fear is from the enemy and not of You. You want us to trust You…Your goodness, kindness, and faithfulness, to walk with us no matter what may come. Help us to do this, Father. Help us to give all of our worries and fears and anxieties over to You and truly begin to walk in the peace You give, the peace that passes all understanding. Help us to fix our eyes on Jesus and continue to fight the good fight of our faith and not relent, not back down, never surrender to anyone but the Holy, Mighty One–YOU, our Lord and our King. We need You. Be with us and guide us every single day. Forgive us where we fall short and get distracted, sidetracked, discouraged, etc. Lift up our heads and give us singleness of heart and purpose–Your Kingdom. Making Jesus known to all. Loving You and loving others. Take our lives and do with them what You will. For Your glory. We love You and ask all of this in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.