Does the world seem to be spinning faster and faster these days, heading somewhere that you are not sure you want to go? The effects of the electronic revolution alone seems to have turned into a major seismic shock to our way of learning, communicating, working, and basically living in this world. It seems as though we are well on our way to having completed our own “Tower of Babel”, where we no longer need divine help, and barely have time for God anyway.
Hardly a week goes by that we don’t hear, via this world-wide twenty-four hour News cycle about another weather related natural disaster. Unprecedented wind and rain storms around the world leave thousands of people homeless and desperately trying to hang on in this crazily spinning world. Extreme cold and extended hot spells remind us that we have no ability to control the weather. These have led to famine and starvation in numerous places in the world. Then, of course, as American citizens, we now have the total chaos of our local and national government staring at us on the cable News. We see centuries old values and morals exploding before our eyes. We witness an American way of life that appears to be completely foreign to what we have known up until now.
And as if that were not bad enough, many of us have lost most of our retirement savings, our job, our home equity, our businesses…our financial security. Then add to that the senseless attack on our Christian faith wherever it is publicly displayed. Is that enough bad News for you right now? It certainly is for me.
Of course, we know that God is taking wonderful advantage of all this uncertainty, confusion, suffering, fear, and sense of disorientation that we are experiencing. He is calling out to us! He is trying to get our attention! Can you hear Him? Are we listening? In Anne Graham Lotz’s new book, Expecting to see Jesus, she addresses these very things. She too believes that we are at a point in history where we need to take note. Jesus certainly told his disciples many times to take note of the signs of the times. When they questioned Him about the future, He always answered them in a way that noted His intention to come back to earth again. Not only that, but He warned them of the dangers of not being prepared. This was a serious part of His message, even though it was not one His followers really understood.
Perhaps if they had possessed more of a grasp on what the Word says about this through the prophets, the people at the time of Jesus’ first coming might have recognized Him as the fulfillment of those prophecies. Anna and Simeon and perhaps the shepherds and wise men from the east were privileged to have a part in His birth story because they had studied the scriptures and knew the prophecies about the coming Messiah. But did they realize that He would fulfill only part of those prophecies? That would take a revelation from the Holy Spirit.
It’s no different today. Anne’s book refreshes our memory about the talks that Jesus had with His disciples in Matthew 24 through 25, Luke 21, and John 14 through 17. And she has taken note of the signs. Yes, we have had disasters, famines, and wars throughout the last two thousand years. Yes, there have been unspeakably evil leaders from the time of the New Testament church’s beginnings. But Anne compares the many horrible world happenings to the birth pains an expectant mother experiences. In Matthew 24: 8 Jesus says, “All these are the beginning of birth pains.” Anne reminds us that in laboring to give birth, the pains begin slowly and are easily endured, but they increase with frequency and intensity until they seem to be unbearable.
Are we getting to that point in history where all that we see around us and around the world is crying out for relief? If you sense this with your spirit, it would be a good thing to look at the rest of Jesus’ warnings to us. Woven into these recitals by Jesus of the signs of the end times are warnings to be prepared, prepared as a bride for her bridegroom, in fact. The daughter of Billy Graham, Anne Graham Lotz is a world famous evangelist whose Life focuses on drawing people into a life changing relationship with God through His Word. She carries with her a certain credibility that comes through the pages of her book, and sways us to accept her conclusion that we are the generation that will see the return of the Messiah Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords on this earth. She says, “Within my lifetime, I have seen the fulfillment of every sign Jesus gave His disciples two thousand years ago. Not only have I seen the signs but I have observed the local, national, and global ‘birth pains’ increase in astonishing frequency and intensity. I am convinced that the kingdoms of this world are about to give birth to the kingdom of God. Here, on earth. I know Jesus is coming! It’s time to wake up…”
The rest of her book is the nuts and bolts of how to wake up, how to get ready. She deals with the sleeping Christian and lukewarm Church who know the right stuff in their heads, but are missing something… a new and profound vision of God, as Isaiah experienced. In chapters 1-5, Isaiah was already a well-known and accepted prophet, knowing and hearing God’s voice under King Uzziah. But when the king died, Isaiah had a new vision in Isaiah 6:1-13. It changed his life, empowered his Life, and he became able to see and hear God in ways he had never known before.
Are we ready for such a life changing revelation in our life? Anne thinks so, and so do I.