My generation grew up with a great deal of preaching about the Second Coming and ‘being ready’, and there was nothing quite like singing ‘Soon and very soon we are going to see the King’ to lift our hearts in joyful anticipation. The thought of no more crying, no more dying, was a heady one and I can't remember how many times I heard a preacher remind us that ‘The Lord is coming for those who look for His appearing.’ Consequently, we spent a great deal of spiritual energy examining our hearts and looking up, and there was an urgency to sharing the salvation message. We didn’t want to be the reason for anyone perishing.
In these days, it would seem this message has almost become too old-fashioned for some folk. We are part of the interior generation, our lives locked into a small screen in our hands, and in full pursuit of what makes us feel good about ourselves. Even our worship often reflects this obsession with self, when songs affirming our state of grace seem to outnumber songs about Jesus, the Cross and the blood that flowed from it for our redemption.
I have no doubt that the startling and horrific events of the past week in the Middle East have grabbed every believer’s attention. War is a terrible thing, and terrorism even more so because it cruelly and cynically attacks us where we feel safest – our homes. It’s no wonder fear starts to stalk the landscape of our imagination, and, if we are not careful, binds us and robs us of the simple joy of living. In fact, the Word tells us that this fear will make our hearts fail.
Like you, I read the news and wonder – ‘Is this the end of the beginning, or the beginning of the end?’ And, if I’m honest, my spirit is profoundly disturbed by what I see and hear. But once again, our Lord Jesus speaks to my heaving heart: Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid….These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.