It’s difficult not to be anxious when reading the headlines these days. Not only is our world engulfed in one crisis after another, but there’s a general lack of common sense and critical thinking. It’s as if our world is spinning out of control. Then as I read my Bible, the headlines start falling into place with end times prophecy. Many believers have conflicting thoughts about this convergence of signs that seem to point to the end of the world. How should Christians respond? Is it possible to stay calm in the middle of chaos?
Well, where the world sees chaos, discerning believers see God’s call to His people. “The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer” (1 Peter 4:7). The realization that the rapture of the church could happen at any moment is a call to prayer and a call to prepare. It should also help us think more clearly and exercise better self-control.
Puritan preacher Alexander Maclaren describes the perspective of the early church this way: “The primitive church thought more about the second coming of Jesus Christ than about death or Heaven. They were not looking for a cleft in the ground called ‘the grave,’ but for a cleavage in the sky called ‘glory.’ They were not watching for the ‘undertaker’ but for the ‘Uppertaker.’ They felt man’s chief end was to get right with God or be left behind when Christ returned.”
The idea that the purpose of the church is to make the world a better place or to save the earth isn’t supported by Scripture. If anything, the opposite is true. “The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever” (1 John 2:17). “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). These verses aren’t meant to scare believers or to cause despair but to instill hope. The fact that our God tells us what to expect enables us to stay calm in the middle of chaos.
Any burden we feel today should be over those who are still without Jesus, and over the current condition of the church at large. Any church is only as strong as its members. Sadly, far too many believers are entangled by the cares of the world. They engage in futile attempts to rescue society rather than rescuing the lost. The result is a weakened and unprepared church. Instead of planning for a better existence in this world, we should be preparing for our exit from it.
So how should Christians respond to all the chaos happening in the world? It’s right, and even biblical, to be concerned. But remember, every new crisis is a call to prayer and to prepare. We can stay calm because the world is not spinning out of control, it is spinning to a conclusion. Are you actively looking for the return of Christ? We can encourage and prepare others as we allow God to encourage and prepare us.