The start of the year 2022 appeared to have brought some respite for mankind, especially from the pandemic that had hit the world in 2019. However, the news reports indicate that more serious global issues are emerging from the time we have entered the year 2022.
Hardly are we out of the pandemic, and now WHO has declared that the Monkeypox outbreak spreading globally is a public health emergency of international concern.
Tensions between nuclear-armed nations are mounting as a result of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine and the chances of a nuclear war being triggered are more likely than before. Communal tensions are rising in various countries and Christians are being targeted. Then we have the unprecedented heat waves and drying up of rivers in many parts of Europe, the wildfires razing thousands of hectares in no time, and the floods that have never been so deadly for decades.
All these and various other global events seem to indicate that things are going from bad to worse.
The terrible events that we see today on news channels are happening only in a few countries. And people there are living in fear. However, considering the rate at which one country after the other is getting hit by an unexpected crisis, the rest of us who apparently seem to be safe may not be very far from the moment when it will be our turn to live in constant fear too.
Now, we who are people of faith and are tuned to the Word of God will have no problem in accepting the fact that whatever is happening around us today is the Divine chastisement that has come upon the whole world; and this chastisement is worsening day by day. Therefore, it will be wise for us to heed the words of Our Lord Jesus who while referring to this chastisement said, “There will be strange things happening to the sun, the moon, and the stars. On earth whole countries will be in despair, afraid of the roar of the sea and the raging tides. (Luke 21:25). Note the words, 'whole countries.' It means that a time will come when no country will be spared from such chastisement. Everyone will live in fear. Everyone will be driven to the point of despair. Everyone will feel that there is no chance of surviving.
People will faint from fear as they wait for what is coming over the whole earth, for the powers in space will be driven from their courses. (Luke 21:26). Please note, in this verse, the Lord repeats again that fear is coming upon the whole earth. No one will be spared. And He goes on to say that people will be fearful even before the moment comes. Just think about it. If people will faint from fear before the moment comes, think how much they will fear when the moment actually comes.
Therefore, one common thing that will happen when the Divine chastisement reaches this level is that everyone will be filled with uncontrollable fear and despair. But then note what the Lord says next, “When these things begin to happen, stand up and raise your heads, because your salvation is near." (Luke 21:28). This statement of Jesus was directed to His disciples; and it is very much applicable to us as well, we who are living for Him. In the event that the Divine chastisement reaches this level, it will be natural for us to become paralyzed because of fear. Like the disciples who after Jesus' death went into hiding and remained idle doing nothing, we too will not want to do anything at that moment. And our human tendency will also make us remain focused only on that which is causing us to become fearful. That is when we ought to remember the words of Jesus and hear Him say to us, “Stand up and raise your heads.” Jesus calls us to stand up and do what God expects us to do in such moments. Further, He calls us to stop focussing on that which is causing us to become fearful.
What does God expect us to do? What is it that we need to focus on in order to stand our ground?
...to be continued in the next issue.