Sunday, November 05, 2017
Sunday Afternoon Tea - Watching the Biblical road signs
This past week, when I was carrying groceries out of Aldi's, a woman about my age stopped me and asked if I was local. She had a thick accent and later told me she was from Eastern Canada and was driving alone through the States.
She told me she had been driving in circles for two hours, trying to find a certain State Highway. She had stopped and asked others but no one knew how to get to that road. I had to tell her she was actually on that road right now. I pointed to the closest stop light and told her if she just turned at the light and did not make any turns, this road became that road.
She had a hard time believing that and looked bewildered. She reminded me that there are no signs that would tell her it was the road she needed. Did you ever try to tell someone from another country the strange ways American roads are divided? Even the local people she had asked didn't know it became that road eventually.
I explained to her that while this road was a By-Pass going around the town, it became a Parkway with a name and not a number. I assured her that she needed to stay on the road for miles (and miles) until it went all the way around town. She still looked skeptical when I put my groceries in the van and drove away. I guess I couldn't blame her.
It had to be frustrating for her that she had wasted two hours just because she didn't understand where she was. If she had a map, I could have shown her how the road was bypassing the town to assure her she was on the correct road... albeit with a temporarily different name.
I was thinking how I had driven through the forest just a day before on a road somewhat close to my home. A road which is narrow and has so many twists and turns one needs to pay close attention to avoid oncoming cars and hundreds of trees.
I was having a difficult time concentrating that day because the forest was absolutely beautiful. Even in a year when the color was muted, the magic of an early November forest took my breath away. I'm well aware it would take only one big storm for those leaves to end up on the ground. Such magic (Narnia magic) is brief in its' Beauty.
I travel this road once or twice every week and I knew that it continues through the forest and stops where the winding road meets the highway. The same highway she was looking for, only here it heads into Chicago and she was driving south.
Of course, a pondering kind of person would ask God if He was trying to tell them something and as I expected... He indeed had a lesson for me. I thought of how crazy this world is right now, so different than what I've been used to. The very soul of society has changed, evil is more prominent, and morals once normal are now considered out of date.
But God reminded me that I have... we have... a map to show us the way. Much like one of those large kiosks at the Mall that says "You Are Here" in a map of all the stores... His Word tells me where I am.
Bible prophecy was just being taught when I was a new Christian as Hal Lindsey's Late Great Planet Earth became a best seller. I just heard a couple of Bible teachers talking about him recently, reminding people that he indeed was not a "false prophet" but instead it was Lindsey who first gave us a crack of light into the subject of Bible prophecy, even if it did not come to pass as he thought it might.
The thing with Bible prophecy is this... we see through the glass darkly. Just as Hal Lindsey in 1970 made reasonable guesses giving world events at the time that were not entirely correct, books are being written today with various time lines that tell us this is the absolute way it will all turn out. Will it?
I've studied prophecy long enough to change my own mind a few times and I've learned it is far from wise to play the "pen the tail on the antichrist" game. I still enjoy studying prophecy and I have favorite Bible teachers who disagree about various time lines and the whos, whats, and wheres of various Bible chapters.
So... how do you find peace in the midst of the various scenarios being offered? Well, we find peace in what the Bible tells us for certain. First of all, we know the Bible tells us there will be events and earth changes it calls "birth pangs", like a woman feels when the birth of a child is near.
Second, we are told there will be an increase in lawlessness, wars, and rumors of wars. Peace will be removed from the world. We are told men's hearts will be failing them for fear as they gaze at these events.
The Bible tells us many things that will take place before the return of Jesus and we may want to look past those things where there is an argument (is there a rapture, when does it happen, is the Tribulation seven years, is the Church here in the Tribulation, does the Church see the antichrist, who is the False Prophet, is America in the Bible, etc. and etc.),
There is enough to agree upon that one can read prophecy and find that road map to tell where we are on the journey. Probably not the exact street and maybe not the actual destination... but we will know if we are on the right road.
So when we see things on TV that we never expected, hear about mass shootings, read about the possibility of nuclear war, watch the rumblings of volcanoes, hear scientists talk about "unprecedented" events, and feel ourselves confused by the change in attitude even some former friends have toward us as Bible believing Christians... we can be at peace.
These events are exactly as the Bible said they would be and what were we told to do when they happened? Look up for Jesus is coming again. Not literally, of course, or we would all be bumping into everything... but in our hearts we are to look up by looking at His Word.
I still read books and listen to teaching about Bible prophecy, for good teachers show me the path we are on. I don't hang my hat on exact timing and exactly what will happen with whom before Jesus returns. Been there. Done that. Didn't work.
For you see, prophecy isn't an Interstate that one drives fast upon with few twists and turns to arrive at some future destination. Instead it is more like the road I take to the highway through the forest. One who has never driven on it will find the twists and turns highly uncomfortable and would wonder just how close they are to leaving the forest and reaching their destination.
These are unsettling times we live in and there is a lot we could become afraid of if we kept our mind on the endless possibilities of evil. However, we are to keep our mind on Him, only then are we told we will have peace that passes all understanding. God knows how it all ends down to every jot and tittle and He is not in Heaven wringing His hands.
Because of that, you and I can sleep well tonight. It doesn't depend on us. We pray for protection and discernment for our family and friends and leave the rest to Him. Come to think of it, can you think of a better GPS than the Holy Spirit?
Mentioned in this Post
The Late Great Planet Earth by Hal Lindsey (circa 1970-ish)... here.
It was the first popular book about Bible prophecy, written when the world seemed on the verge of nuclear war.
Photo: The road in front of the gravel lane this past week.