Jesus privately tells Peter, James, John and Andrew about the future destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. At the same time, He speaks of His return and “the beginning of the birth pains” when “nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines.” Jesus also states, “And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.”
Some of us seem to be hung-up on the when of Jesus’ return, even getting excited when Japan was hit by the largest magnitude earthquake ever recorded in that country. In actuality, there have always been earthquakes, famines, and wars — they are not particularly more prevalent now than in our past.
The key element upon which few seem to focus is Jesus’ emphatic statement that “the gospel must first be preached to all nations.” Missionaries are indeed located around the world, but somewhere there is a tribe — yes? — not yet reached. There are peoples who have never heard of their Savior, Jesus Christ.
Paul says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news!'” (Romans 10:13-15)
Jesus commands, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19)
My neighbor came over this evening to look at photographs of my new puppy, and to have a glass of red wine. He told me that an American had been found dead in Japan.
A young teacher of English — a young woman who apparently got caught in the tsunami as she attempted to unite parents and children. He said she then “rode away on her bicycle.”
“And was never seen again?”
“Hit by that 30 foot wave, I guess,” he said.
I cried for her, but even more for her parents. I cried for her parents because I am the parent of a 25 year old young woman teaching English in Japan.
When I heard about Taylor Anderson’s death, all I could think was “there but for the grace of God go I.” And then I wondered again — as I do so often — what have I ever done to deserve God’s grace?
And the answer — of course — is NOTHING at all. That’s why we call it GRACE!
My 9 year old Bichon Frise, Bolind’s Frosted Katie Hanna [Hanna for short] died suddenly this weekend. She began walking stiffly, then foaming at the mouth, vomiting water, with profound lethargy following. She died within 24 hours of the first symptoms. Apparently, the symptoms sounded like antifreeze poisoning to the vet, who was too busy to see her. And, I am currently having her dog food tested as a precaution. We buried Hanna in our backyard.
Jesus tells His apostles, “Come with Me by yourself.”
On top of my dog’s sudden death, my daughter is presently in Japan. Although she is currently safe, the constant news coverage of the six nuclear reactors in Fukushima being near meltdown has caused me some loss of sleep, despite my mental discipline of refusing to worry. I’ve actually discovered that I worry that she is worried!
Jesus says, “Come to a quiet place.”
Kindly, my supervisor at work allowed me an extra day to be at home this week. I initially thought the two days without Hanna and with my daughter in Japan might be depressing, but I needed that time to be with the Lord and to be in a quiet place.
Jesus says, “Get some rest.”
Here is the command from the Lord with which I believe many Christians have the most trouble. So much to do, so little time to do it all — how can I rest?
I can tell you from this week’s experiences — I needed a rest. I needed a quiet place. I needed to be by myself, alone with the Lord.
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret.” (Psalm 37:7) “Get some rest.”