Massive hurricanes. Earth-altering earthquakes. Epic floods. Out-out-of-control wildfires. Add to the mix terrorism and social chaos, and the threat of nuclear war, and we find plenty of reasons to be unsettled. It seems as though the end of time is upon us, and we cannot help but wonder what in the world is happening? Below are a few thoughts that I think will help you process our crazy current events.
We Are Not Being Judged
In spite of what insurance policies might say, natural cataclysmic events are not “acts of God.” Nor are the people of the earth being judged. We are not in a time of judgment but rather the age of grace. That doesn’t mean that God automatically forgives all the sins of the world, but that His intent for this season is to draw people to Himself that they might avoid judgment.
When the Day of Judgement does finally arrive, it will include all that we are seeing and far more. If you have ever read about fault lines and volcanic ranges, you understand that our entire globe sits in a tenuous state. One day, all of those things will break loose, but that day is not today.
The World Is Being Shaken
What in the world is happening? The Bible talks about our world entering a time of upheaval and shaking as the end of life as we know it draws near (Luke 21:25-36). The reasons for this are multiple and intertwined, but there is a good likelihood that creation is in a spiritual tumult (Romans 8:19-22)—an unseen reality which manifests itself in physical ways.
The current shaking is also intended to create a separation between those who truly believe in God and those who do not. For the Christian, now is not the time to tremble with fear. Now is the time to cultivate our faith, which must be tested and proven through the fires of adversity (1 Peter 1:3-9).
Both God and the Devil Are at Work
What in the world is happening? We are also seeing a reaction to the advance of God’s kingdom on earth. During the past century, all over the globe, vast numbers of people have come to faith in Christ. Areas of the globe that were once devoid of spiritual life are now vibrant. As the “prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2),” Satan works to oppose the kingdom’s advance with all the dark forces he can muster.
Depending on our focus, we can see both God and the devil actively at work. Both are opportunists. The devil always seeks to kill, steal, and destroy, but the Lord will ever turn things to the good when His people invite Him to act through faith-filled prayer. No matter how dark a situation might seem, the sovereign King of the Universe can turn it for good purposes.
The Most Important Battle
We are in the midst of a battle for human hearts. While the powers of darkness seek to harden and embitter, the kingdom of light seeks to soften hearts and fuel the flames of love. Although news headlines will continually draw our focus elsewhere, it is in the depths of human hearts that the real battle rages.
Before us stands a choice between life and death. We can choose to disbelieve God’s promises and goodness at work, thereby becoming cynical, bitter, and hardened. (Hardness of heart can be compared to spiritual cataracts; the more calloused we become, the less we see and understand God’s mysterious ways.) Our other option is to encourage ourselves and one another in faith, trusting Him in the midst of worldly upheaval, and extending love and grace to those around us.
What in the World Is Happening?
I am not suggesting that we ignore the political scene, pressing issues such as climate change, or the heart-rending events in our world but that we learn to see them through the eye of faith. In spite of any opposition, God’s kingdom will continue to advance until it fills the whole earth (Daniel 2:44). He is ever at work to accomplish His good purposes. If we do not believe these things, not only will we become hardened and blind, the worry of our age will render us unfruitful for His service (Matthew 13:22).
What in the world is happening? The entire world is moving toward a climax that will one day usher in an eternal age of peace and joy. And as all the world shakes, may we be the ones who learn to stand secure in our Lord and Savior’s faithful love. Only then will we have something profoundly powerful to offer to those in need.