Read: Luke 21
By: Sarah Joyner
“Comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” – Reinhold Niebuhr
If you look to Chapter 21 in the book of Luke, you will see many visions of the end times: “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.”
Luke 21 also offers us advice for how we can prepare for these times: “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
As the end times draw near, we need to remain faithful and hopeful, continuing in prayer and praise through all that might happen. We need to be afflicted so that we don’t become too comfortable, and we must afflict those who have already become too comfortable. Let’s not fall victim to the comforts and conveniences of life, but rather, let’s pray as the psalmist David prayed: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24). Let’s remain strong in our stride as we run the race, always keeping our focus on God. Let’s remain in the ways of our God, not giving into sensuous pleasures of life, not seeking to escape the pains and fears we might face with drugs, alcohol, food, technology, etc. Let’s not be overcome by anxiety and worry, but know that when the end draws near, we are closer to being with our Lord than ever before! Let’s look forward to the day we get to stand in front of our Lord and prepare for this very day by living life in reverence and respect for our Savior, so that we may one day hear him say to each of us, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
Along with afflicting the comfortable, we also need to be prepared to comfort the afflicted. Luke 21 tells us that people will faint from terror because they are unprepared and without knowledge of what’s taking place. While they are fainting from terror, we must remain in a posture of hope and confidence. Luke21:28 says, “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Because unbelievers won’t have the knowledge that we do, we can assure them, through our postures of confidence, that although these circumstances seem bad, and maybe even scary, this is actually an opportunity for God’s power to show up and shine in their lives! This will be a chance for us to offer people hope through the good news of Jesus Christ and his ever-nearing return to earth.
So, as we prepare for Christ’s triumphant return, let’s prepare in faithfulness. Let’s remain watchful and hopeful as we fill our days with songs of praise and thanksgiving to our Lord. Let’s be ready at all times, so that no matter when the day comes, we will be ready. We must persevere and keep walking in the ways of Jesus Christ while we courageously proclaim the Word of God to those around us.