Saturday, May 21, 2011

No Man Knows


I'm just plain dumbfounded today. Admittedly, I'm not as dialed into current events as I probably should be as a contributing part of society and our culture. I don't wake up and turn on the morning news. We don't subscribe to the local newspaper. I'm lucky if I can read my email some days -- responding to it is another matter entirely.

So, it's not really a surprise, I guess, that I have not been really following the predicted Apocalypse for today, May 21st. I heard a murmur or two about it earlier in the week from a friend. But, it seems like there is always someone hailing the end of the world and claiming to know exactly when it it will occur. So, I didn't give it much thought.

However, it's become more and more pervasive in postings on Facebook (okay...it's sad that I get my "news" from Facebook, I know) and "on the street," so I thought I would just take a gander at Yahoo News and see what all the fuss is about.

I am completely astounded, stupified and yes, horrified too. As I have read the news stories of the people who have given up jobs and sold their earthly goods to "get ready to be raptured," I am in stunned disbelief. Now that the appointed time has come and gone, these poor folks are having to pick up the pieces of their broken down livelihoods and try to figure out how to start over. It's criminal. It's crazy. And, in my opinion, it's completely irresponsible!

I never had a moment of doubt that the Rapture would not happen today. In fact, I knew it wouldn't -- it would be impossible actually for it to occur. How did I know that? The answer is simple: I know my Bible.

Found in the "gospel" books of the New Testament (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), you can read scripture that deals with the end of this world.

I'm going to quote from Matthew 24: 36-44:
“However, no man knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.
“When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.

“Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left.  Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.

“So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected."
I'm no Bible scholar. I didn't major in Theology. But, this seems pretty clear to me. "No man knows." And since Mr. Camping predicted today to be the day, logic and reason would dictate that it could not be.

What's even more distressing is that many Christ-followers were caught up in this circus and experienced fear and anxiety and distress about the idea of "losing everything" today. It breaks my heart that people who are supposed to know better, seemingly don't. The Bible is everywhere. You can find it in every hospital, most hotels, bookstores and even online. And if you have an iPhone, there's an app for that...probably hundreds of Bible apps actually. There is no excuse to be ignorant of what Jesus himself had to say on the subject. There is only a lack of discipline and laziness.

In this day of easy to access information, pre-packaged meals and "sound-bites," we've forgotten how to actually do the hard work and research for vital information. Sometimes we get so used to relying on our pastor, women's leader or spiritual mentor to tell us what we need to know. However, that only leads us to what happened today. A group of well-intentioned God-loving people relied on a human being to get their doctrine on the End Times. It didn't work out so well.

I fervently believe we all need to muster up the needed discipline to read our Bibles and know what it says. If we don't, and we do not teach our children to do the same, I fear what will happen to us and what we will allow ourselves to believe and to become and where we would be willing to be led.

It doesn't cut it to say, "well, __________ told me. And so it's his/her fault." We have all been given minds to use and the exercise of having to turn to God's word for what He has to say about something is good for us. It sharpens our sometimes culture-numbed brain.

But beyond the discipline arguement, more importantly, I think we need to know our Bible out of Love. When you love someone, you want to know everything there is to know about him or her. You will go to great lengths to know their story. To know what he/she believes and why.

It's no different from loving Jesus. If you truly love Him and follow Him, then you should want to know what He and His father have to say about things that are vital to our very existent. It's not just duty. It's devotion.

And if you don't know where to look, it's okay to ask someone or several people, or do a Google search and read some commentaries. But, you always need to go to the source and see if it adds up to scripture.

This is not a dress rehearsal. This is real life. I would hate for anyone to miss out on truly living because they were afraid of dying.

The Bible also says, "Perfect love casts out all fear." (1 John 4:18)

Not only was I not alarmed about the rapture happening today, I did not fear its coming. I love God and I know he loves me. Although I adore my family, I know this earthly home is not my ultimate home. The thought of seeing him face to face today or any day actually fills me with joy and not dread. For me, "to be absent from this body, is to be present with the Lord." (2 Corinthians 5:8)

I do know that some of Mr. Camping's followers yearned for today to be the day for that precise reason. Tired of the sorrows and stresses of this life, they long to be away from it all and in God's presence. I think it's okay to be weary and yearn for Heaven. But, I also believe that while we're here, we have work to do on God's behalf. I would hate to leave it undone because I spent all my days wanting to be somewhere else.

I guess for me, it all boils down to trust (as do most things, I am finding). Do I trust in God's love for me, his perfect timing, and his omniscience?

I do. All the above. And so for me, May 21st was the day after my third child's 4th birthday. It was a day that I took my nephews to Pump It Up and watched them bounce around like crazy, and one where I watched my eldest daughter play softball. It was another day that God gave me on this crazy, beautiful earth. I lived it.

I didn't see Jesus face to face today. But I spoke to him...and told him that I'm ready for that day whenever He is.

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