Walking around Jerusalem, Jesus had an amazing conversation with his disciples. He told them; “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 and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” (Matthew 24: 6-7).
Increasingly I find myself reminded of these incredible words while watching the news or browsing the net. I find it amazing (and most comforting) that Jesus, speaking two-thousand years ago, not only warns us of the horrors that would unfold, but instructs us not be alarmed. Incidentally the NLT and The Message both interpret those words as “don’t panic”. I love that! Jesus doesn’t say, don’t care, treat suffering with ambivalence and sorrow with contempt. Indeed, elsewhere, he instructs us to care for the broken, to give to the poor and to take in the stranger. But here he also says, don’t panic!
Why is that? Because Jesus went onto add, “this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come”. Sadly, Jesus predicts an escalation of the struggle, but then (just like a woman in labour), he speaks of a wonderful and glorious and eternal deliverance. He speaks of His return and the establishment of a New Heaven and a New Earth.
As ever then, I encourage you not to look down and to become despondent, but to look up and to look forward in order to take hold again of the hope of the Gospel.