Earthquakes, Tsunamis, and Nuclear Radiation. Chaos looms and yet remarkably in the midst of the debris, PBS reports that Life is “particularly orderly” among the residents of Japan. One columnist for The Philippine Star reminds us, “Japanese discipline rules despite disaster.” One might ask, “How this can be?” For those of us captivated by the images plastering the newspapers and television screens, we shudder at the thought of enduring even one of the tragedies they have now faced collectively. We question within ourselves, “Is the world finally coming to an end?”
No one can answer that question with certainty, however the Bible does instruct us on times and seasons that we are to look for. Though some may question the validity of scripture, asking how a book written so long ago could possibly answer questions about life here and now, others are fully convinced of its credibility and even find great comfort in the instruction it offers.
Ever notice how these type of events always seem to catch us off guard? We remember 9/11, Katrina, and Haiti, and yet we somehow think it will never happen to us. For those who tragically experienced these events first hand, everything they’ve ever known fell apart in a moment, and many of them did feel the end had finally come. For them at least, it had. For those of us peering through the broken glass looking in, we breathe a sigh of relief its not us and go on with life. At least for a moment. A few unsung heroes will go as far as to reach out and help, and although we all feel a sense of responsibility to join with our brothers and sisters in their pain and bring some degree of comfort, most of us simply cross to the other side of the road and pretend not to notice. For us life goes on – sort of. We still have the nagging question.
The reality is that the Bible does indeed disclose that at an appointed time, life as we know it will end. Jesus spent a great deal of time preparing His Disciples for what was to come, and teaching them how to be prepared for it. One such occasion is found in the Gospel of Mark.
Mark 13:3b-8 …Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled? And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you: For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And when you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars, be you not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows.
“The beginnings of sorrows.” Jesus taught that when we see certain signs we can understand that though the end “shall not be yet,” still we are to recognize the “season” marking the beginning of the end. This is just one of many instances where He goes into great detail of what the end will look like.
While some question the goodness of God in times of tragedy, thorough study of scripture will reveal the reality that it is actually His goodness that offers up countless warnings to us and great insight on how to be prepared. It is my goal as the new Kansas City Biblical Examiner to bring to light several notations from the Bible and help answer many of the nagging questions that keep us awake at night. I look forward to our time together. Feel free to offer your comments or to write me directly with any thoughts/questions you might have. I think we’re going to have a wonderful time together. For now, grab a cup of java and your bible, and dig in!