I believe the Church is having trouble with trouble. For example, consider all the debate surrounding the sequence of events of the rapture. (Daniel 12:1-3, Matthew 24:15-44, Luke 21:29-36, John 6:39-40, 1 Corinthians 15:50-57, 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10, 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10, 1 Peter 1:3-5, Revelation 7:13-15, Revelation 20:4-6)
For some Christians, it’s become an obsession, even causing them to draw a line in the sand dividing themselves against other Christians based on how they interpret it, as if it’s somehow more important than anything else. I believe that kind of division is way out of whack and the symptom of a much bigger problem because it shows we’re having big trouble with the scriptural warnings of a time of great trouble coming upon the earth. We’ve allowed our own natural interest in self-preservation to cause us to yield to the fear of what might happen to us, resulting in a fixation on the rapture as the escape route, but self-preservation contradicts the very idea of the rapture, which is all about supernatural preservation.
Self-preservation always puts us at odds with the path God wants us to follow because He requires denial of ourselves to follow the way of the cross. Yes, the rapture gives us hope and encouragement, but self-preservation exalts it as an idol, as if it was our only hope. (Titus 2:13) Too much emphasis on it, like singing songs about flying away in the sweet bye and bye, can cause us to lose sight of the great victory that already belongs to us today.
Like it or not, we’re going to have to deal with trouble in this life. Jesus said, “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
We don’t have to look very far to find lots of evidence of it all around us, but we don’t have to be troubled by it because He has overcome the world, so if we remain faithful to Him, we can live in victory. (Romans 8:35-37, 1 Corinthians 15:54-57) So, why not just believe and receive the victory He already won for us and stop looking for the exit?
How can we help anyone else when we’re so pre-occupied with saving our own life? The only way we’re going to be effective in helping others is by laying down our life, having no regard for what happens to us. Self-preservation causes us to shrink back in fear, so it prevents us from pressing forward into doing whatever God puts in our heart to do.
And if we’re already struggling to deal with the trouble around us today, how will we stand in faith when greater trouble comes. It’s going to get much more intense, even causing men’s hearts to fail from fear of what’s coming upon the earth. (Luke 21:26) Jesus warned a time of unprecedented trouble is coming, but even before those days arrive, He warned all sorts of trouble would come, including wars, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes, which He described as the beginning of sorrows. Yet He instructed us, “See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.” (Matthew 24:6-8 and 24:21)
Like all Bible prophecies, their fulfillment must come to pass and cannot be avoided, but even though trouble is coming, we don’t have to be troubled by it. To that end, the scriptures are our best friend because they give us the wisdom and understanding we need, but this goes way beyond us.
Most all of us have loved ones who are away from God, including sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, parents, nephews and nieces. When these times of trouble come, they will be seeking answers more than ever before, setting aside their distractions, so we will finally have their undivided attention, which will be a great opportunity for us to explain the scriptures in ways they can understand. But for that to happen, we must first understand it ourselves. Our own lack of knowledge not only puts our lives in danger, but also theirs. As Hosea prophetically warned, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6)
Author: James Bailey
James Bailey is a blogger, business owner, husband and father of two grown children. In 1982, he surrendered his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. In 2012, he founded Z3news.com to broadcast the message of salvation by reporting end time news before it happens.