Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come on us, yet we have not sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth. The Lord did not hesitate to bring the disaster on us, for the Lord our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him. Daniel 9:13-15 (NIV).
Just last night, I passed a country church whose sign read, “tribulation ahead. Make your peace with Jesus.” As I drove away, I couldn’t help but think that they had it wrong. Tribulation isn’t dead ahead: it’s here now. Yes, the bad times we see in our world today won’t be nearly as bad as they will be at the end of the world, but these days are no walk in the park. There are so many bad crises brewing, so much discord and rancor in our discourse, and so many people siding with outright evil that it wouldn’t take much to spark one crisis into a full-blown forest fire.
And then I had to check that thought because, even in the bad times, God is so good to us. He provides a home for us to live in. He woke us up today and will keep watch over us when we sleep tonight. Food, clothing, shelter, love, friends, vocation: whatever me or you have is all thanks to God. A thousand spiritual battles are fought for our safety every day: battles we never see. All thanks to Him. Even in ancient Israel’s worst days, He did all this for them, too.
When I was checking my thought, I also realized that the church sign had it wrong about Jesus as well. It’s Jesus who made peace with me, a sinner. I don’t do anything to make peace with Him because He already did everything necessary, everything possible, to make peace with someone who didn’t deserve it. There’s absolutely nothing you, me, or anyone could do to earn our salvation, to add to it, or take it away from us once Jesus guaranteed it. And, even when we reject Him – as sinful Israel did so many times – Jesus still relentlessly pursues us, constantly working in our lives to show us His mercies, His provisions, His boundless love and perfect justice. To convince us to repent.
Even in the bad times, if they seem bad at all, it isn’t because of Jesus. God never abandons us even when He pulls back His holy hand of protection. Be ready now for the end, but don’t forget to live thankfully during today.
For further reading: Genesis 18:25, Exodus 3:20, Nehemiah 9:33, Isaiah 9:13, Jeremiah 2:30, Jeremiah 18:8, Jeremiah 29:11, Daniel 9:15
Merciful Lord, Your promise of protection and forgiveness is beautiful. Thank You for saving me when so often I’ve shown I don’t deserve it.
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