By Nathan Jones
Every day I’m deluged by waves of bad news.
As a Christian watching and waiting for the Lord Jesus to fulfill His promise of returning to Earth to set up His kingdom of peace, love and righteousness, I keep an eye on world events to discern the biblical signs that foretell of that blessed Second Coming. And so, day after day after day I peruse an endless list of news stories in search of those signs. They are very easy to find, but in the search I also discover that the world is filled with horror. That horror can stamp out any glimmer of hope.
Like standing stalwart against the crashing surf, all these constant updates on how bad the world is can eventually erode a person down. Each morning’s wakeup has become tinged with a subtle dread of knowing that I’ll have to hear about some injustice, atrocity or murder. My corporate prayer times are filled with reports of moral collapse and further acts that persecute believers in Christ and take the life of the innocent. My personal prayer times seem to more and more address the consequences of man’s inhumanity to man. And worse, I gaze at my children and feel a deep sadness that they will not experience the earthly opportunities and freedoms that the American dream had once provided.
On top of all the terrible news of today, as a student of Bible prophecy I’m also laden with the knowledge of the future horrors of tomorrow. The human institutions of justice created to uphold moral law that so many have bled to establish have been corrupted and will disintegrate into a totalitarian regime ruled by a megalomaniac world leader. Within a few short years, three quarters of the world’s population are going to be annihilated by nuclear war, raging famine, deadly pestilence and mass death. Freedom of religion will be stamped out. Those who call Christ "Savior" will be hunted like deer and exterminated. The world will visibly be in the grip of the cruel and merciless Prince of this Age — Satan.
And how do I cope with all this badness in the world and the knowledge to come? Initially, my lunch breaks have shifted from Channel 8 news to pre-recordings of American Idol, and from late night surfing of the news sites to Netflix. The wars I can control are played out in Command & Conquer games. But, these escapisms are only fleeting respites.
Honest coping — coping that heals the soul — finally arrives when one truly understands why Jesus is waiting to return, allowing the evil in the world to rage on in the meantime. The key to that understanding lies in 2 Peter 3:9 which reads, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance." The verse teaches that Jesus waits because not everyone who will accept Him as Savior during the present Church Age has yet done so.
I could get mad, and probably in moments of weakness have, that I’m saved and am all set to go. Bring it on! But, what if Jesus had come back the day before I had accepted Him as Savior? What if Jesus was to return before your spouse, your child, your parents or best friend have accepted Him, leaving them to experience the wrath He has promised to let loose in judgment upon on the whole world? Those questions put my anxiousness for His return into true perspective.
That Jesus hasn’t returned yet is amazingly a mercy. The world is in a sorry state of affairs because mankind’s free will and Satan’s moment of ruling have made it so. But, to have the opportunity to be rescued from our sin and be granted eternal life by the true King of the Universe, the King who one day WILL fulfill His promises of destroying all evil and establishing His perfect kingdom... well, that life-saving chance is far too important when compared to our present limited time of suffering.
Jesus loves us, and I love Him for being so merciful. He is patient in returning because He wants everyone to have the opportunity to come to repentance and choose Jesus as Savior. Fortified with that knowledge, I think my day just got a whole lot brighter!