Wars and Rumors of Wars

“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.” (Matthew 6:6-8, ESV, emphasis added)

This morning during my prayer time, this verse came to mind in light of recent events.

We’re seven months past the start of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine. The US and other NATO countries have been supplying arms and intelligence to Ukraine, and therefore engaging in a proxy war against Russia via Ukraine. Earlier this week, holes blew in the Nord Stream pipelines, and most officials agree it was a form of sabotage.

Just today, Russia accepted the referendums from four Ukrainian regions to join the Russian Federation. In response, Ukraine has applied for accelerated membership of NATO. And the US and EU continue to pass aid packages to Ukraine and sanction Russia.

Meanwhile, Europe and especially Germany face rising costs of energy and food as they head into winter. The British pound has dropped in value as inflation rises across the West. And, (in)conveniently, legislators in countries like the Netherlands have made it all but impossible for farmers to continue to grow crops, because apparently saving the environment is more important than providing food for everyday people.

Meanwhile, Mexico City endured a massive earthquake, while other areas along the Ring of Fire are experiencing their own rumblings.

How many boxes can we check, Jesus? Are the end times near?

Christians in almost every generation have pointed to events in their lifetimes that seemed to fulfill the prophecy Jesus gave almost two-thousand years ago. And today, with wars and rumors of wars, pending famine, earthquakes, and more, it does seem like we are at the beginning of the birth pains.

I’m not going to speculate whether the end times are imminent or not. I’m also not going to speculate on how they’re going to come about.

We tend to overlook Jesus’ command in this passage: “See that you are not alarmed.”

Jesus then gives the reason why: “For this must take place, but the end is not yet.”

In other words, we as Christians should not be surprised by or worried about the events unfolding in the world. Whether they are the prelude to the end times or not, we don’t know. But if they are, we should not be alarmed.

Why? One, because Jesus says it must happen. Two, because of what he says a few verses later:

“And he [the Son of Man] will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:31, ESV, emphasis added)

In other words, no matter what happens, whether we live or we die, Jesus will return for us and gather us together with him.

It’s easy for us to get wrapped up in current events, checking the news every few minutes for any new drama or hope that our fears will be assuaged. I’m guilty of it myself. It’s good to be informed and prepared, but most of the time we can’t change anything that’s happening around us.

But we can change the way we react, by choosing not to worry and believing the words of the Good Shepherd, end times or not.

Until Christ returns, let’s keep our eyes open, live wisely, and be the light to a dark world.

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