The last book in the Bible names itself from the first phrase of the book, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ.” The central theme of the Book is the ultimate triumph of Jesus Christ over all His enemies and the redemption of all the righteous. I believe that it is particularly pertinent to our present time. Many current events can be explained and understood through these prophetic writings.
Mankind’s very best efforts, without God, are woefully insufficient and ineffective. As we witness world leaders turning from God and to their own understanding, the Revelation reveals that chaos and ruin will be the ultimate result.
The prophet Isaiah describes the spirit of many in our day:
"Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands afar off; For truth is fallen in the street, And equity cannot enter. So truth fails, And he who departs from evil makes himself a prey." (Is 59:14-15)
Paul describes it in these words:
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come." (2 Tim 3:1-9)
Jesus describing the catastrophic events of the last times says:
"All these are the beginning of sorrows." (Matt 24:8)
But even in the worst of times, Jesus is our Light, our Protector, our Provider, our God, our Guide and our Guard. Jesus reminds not to be fearful in uncertain times but to keep on believing:
“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” (Luke 12:32)
Because our God is light, no darkness will ever be too great.
I have a sweet Boston Terrier with both a mischievous streak and a guilt complex. He loves to get into things and then abscond with them when he thinks he's in trouble. Most of the time, if he would just stay near me, he would see that I only make him give up the things that could ultimately harm him. There is always lots of love and attention if he would only stick around.
It's not just a puppy thing; since the dawn of Creation, mankind has hidden from God when they feel they have done something wrong. When Adam and Eve sinned, they tried to hide from the presence of God. When Cain killed his brother, he ran from the presence of God. When Jonah didn't want to do God's will, he fled from the presence of God. In each case, they found only heartache.
And yet God showed mercy. He sought out Adam and Eve; He gave Cain a mark to save his life from any who would hurt him; He sought out Jonah and gave him a second chance.
We don't always consciously seek out sin. Sometimes we just mess up. How tragic it is that, when we need Him most, our human instinct is to run from the presence of God. And yet He still loves and He still pursues. He brings His presence to us when we are afraid to find it for ourselves.
In Acts 3:19, Peter addressed a group who had made mistakes. He told them to repent, but he beautifully concluded by saying,
"times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord."
Our first impulse may be to run, but the greatest peace, reconciliation, and refreshing of spirit flood our lives when we fall into, not away from, His presence. As David beautifully wrote,
"in [His] presence is fulness of joy" (Ps 16).
We humans are social beings and need fellowship, we need one another! One serious effect of the current pandemic is the loneliness brought on by social distancing: lonely elders in nursing homes and lonely patients in hospital rooms, lonely students separated from their friends. We read reports of a huge increase in adults, adolescents and children seeking treatment for depression.
At the dawn of Creation, Adam saw the birds in flocks, the cattle in herds and even the fish swam in schools. But Adam was all alone. Then LORD said,
“It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.”
And then God created Eve and presented her to Adam, his counterpart and companion. We all need someone.
Hall of Fame singer/songwriter Bill Withers wrote in this ‘70s classic:
You just call on me brother when you need a hand
We all need somebody to lean on
I just might have a problem that you'll understand
We all need somebody to lean on
Lean on me when you're not strong
And I'll be your friend
I'll help you carry on
For it won't be long
Till I'm gonna need somebody to lean on.
How very true! At some point we all will need somebody to lean on. Sometimes even with the best of intentions and having exhausted our supreme effort, as humans, we fail one another. In those times remember:
"The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms"