With today’s easy ways of communicating information, one might expect that good news would be easily found. We both know it’s not the case.
News media reminds us daily of tragedies, wars, failed governance, corruption, injustices, and the widespread struggle with despair and fear in a badly broken world.
The Word of God calls this, perilous times.
Two millennia ago, Jesus said, “You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.” (Matthew 24:6-8)
Finding Encouragement in God’s Word
The encouragement in Jesus’ message comes from knowing that he is with us. As Jesus admonished, we must see to it that we are not alarmed. We are not to be frightened or surprised, but faithful and steady. Our anchor in life’s storms is the assurance that God is sovereign over all and He has ultimate control. When we live in reliance upon Him, we can endure whatever comes without falling apart with fear.
The phrase “see to it” clearly indicates that we are responsible for how we respond to what is happening around us. As disciples of Jesus, we know that we can experience great peace and inner calm by nurturing our relationship with God and keeping his eternal Word top of mind. Peace, calm, hope, discernment and so much more, are the gifts that God gives.
“I will never leave you nor forsake you,” says Jesus to His disciples of all generations. This is good news we can take to heart.
As we consider the chaos in the world and ponder our own difficulties, let’s remember that God has a plan for humanity. A great fulfillment is yet to come—God’s judgment of evil and the creation of a brand-new heaven and earth. In that wonderful new place, there will be no suffering and no adversity. We can take encouragement from this.
In the meantime, we can choose to respond to what is and whatever comes by taking to heart three specific statements of Jesus in Matthew chapter 24.
Three important statements of Jesus
The first statement is simply, see to it that you are not alarmed. (Matthew 24:6) Every day, we can choose to spend time reading and pondering the Word of God, allowing its eternal message of pure love and life-sustaining hope to penetrate our hearts and strengthen our faith. This regular practice has a way of turning off the alarm bells.
The second statement is an instruction to stand firm. (Matthew 24:12) In other words, stand on his sure promises for today and prophecies of things to come. Stand on the foundation of eternal truth.
The third statement of Jesus has to do with the proclamation of the gospel to all nations. (Matthew 24:14) The Lord promises that the gospel shall be preached to the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Until that end comes, our priority is to be occupied with communicating the gospel to people in all nations to the best of our ability, seizing every opportunity, to the glory of God.
EHC and Finding the Hope strategies and resources offer opportunities for anyone to participate in some way in communicating the gospel. Through prayer, giving and one-to-one sharing of the gospel message, a lot can be accomplished month by month.
We are bombarded with horrific news continually. But, in the midst of such things, there is Good News—Jesus Saves!
Year after year, millions across this troubled world are responding to the Good News of salvation through Christ.
Let’s remember that it was while he gave a vivid description of troubling things to come in this broken and sinful world that Jesus made this powerful statement: “See to it that you are not alarmed.”
History has demonstrated that the hardest of times have often produced the deepest devotion to God and His purposes. It is at such times that we need to remember that the gospel calls us also to see to it, stand firm and communicate the gospel message.
May the Lord help us do this until he comes!