“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.” (Matthew 24:6)
Violence , cruelty and bloodshed creep closer. The media reports it all –every lurid detail– and our hearts sicken with fear. You will hear of it, the text says. You will hear of it but see to it that you are not alarmed. Don’t get caught into the same cycle of lust for revenge masquerading as justice, or patriotic flag-waving covering a desire for retaliation.
Margaret Atwood wrote: “War is what happens when language fails.”
See to it that you’re not alarmed? But that’s easier said than done. What’s to become of us? Someone said “War does not determine who is right — only who is left.” We can so easily become ensnared in anger and outrage, but also fear and insecurity.
But if our hope is in God and if we believe that He is in control, we can be confident – even in a world gone mad. When trouble strikes, our foundation is revealed.
Those who build their house on sand never have peace when the storm gets up.
In our modern culture, even Christians have been tempted to place their hope in things and circumstances instead of in God. When people lose their sense of false security, they begin to search for something stable. And –as the verse notes- it’s not the “End”, it’s simply the right time to point to the hope we have in Jesus Christ.
Atheism only prevails when the sailing is smooth. You notice that in tragedy, you never see people proclaiming atheism. Instead we hear a plea for prayer and a search for spiritual help. A search is on for peace and for someone who knows the God of peace. Our job is to point them to the hope found in Jesus Christ. He is the only lasting peace anyone can have. Even in trouble, we know hope, security and peace. That is a powerful testimony in a world whose sense of security has been shattered.
But if the Christian is in fear, where can the world turn to find hope?
This does not mean that we stand aside from world events, oblivious or indifferent. We feel the pain of the loss; the anger against the attackers; the fear of the tragedy. Fear is an emotion and is normal. However, when the Christian sees fear, we rest our hope in Jesus Christ. We take refuge in knowing that God is in control. Jesus told us beforehand so that when we see these things, we are not swept up in the fear of the world, but we build our lives on the solid foundation.
Our rock is Christ. He said that these things will happen but our hope is in Him.