Look around you. This is life in the End Times. What a mess! And still, we are being spared so much, if we can keep something of our health, a house to live in, our family around us, and daily bread. Thank God for clothing and shoes and transportation. Thank God we have been spared so much persecution for so long. Thank God for the faith of our Christian brothers and sisters throughout the world who are suffering for that faith, at the hands of individuals, of other religions, or of bad government. God help them.
Thank God above all for His Word, which speaks to us poor sinners, forgiven and righteous in God’s sight for the sake of Jesus, the Righteous One, the Once-and-for-all Sacrifice that canceled guilt, paid our debt of sin and set us free.
After all, what do God’s people need to hear in a pandemic that is exacerbated by race riots, financial uncertainty, political uncertainty, and the threatening erosion of cherished freedoms? “Lift Up Your Heads! Your Redemption is Drawing Near!” – Read Luke 21:25-28: “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
God’s people have endured plagues before: even as a prelude to the Exodus to freedom and new life with God (Exo 12). God’s people have been singled out: even for annihilation – before the man who plotted their destruction was hanged on his own gallows (Est 9). God’s people have endured exile: before their corporate Resurrection and restoration to their Promised Land, which flowed with milk and honey for them once again.
In Revelation, John wrote down the words the angel spoke to him: “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoers still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.”
How long? None of us knows. But however long this time, it’s a time of grace, to hear and to believe and to be gathered in and to be saved. Some have wandered. Some have been gone a long time. Some have strayed far away.
“The Spirit (God the Holy Ghost) and the Bride (the Holy Christian Church) say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who is thirsty come. Let the one who desires take the water of life without price.” (Rev 2:17)