Sunday, January 09, 2022

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Looking toward the new year without fear

It was very cold and windy here last week.  It is still windy, although highs in the 30s are much more tolerable.  That is, unless one is walking down the gravel road to get the  newspaper.  By the time I walked back and opened the front door, I needed an immediate defrosting from a hot beverage.

I normally do not do much housework on Sundays but the clutter from Christmas decorations still waiting to be packed and the tree waiting to be taken apart were beginning to remove my peace. I have no reason why it was so difficult this year to pack up and put everything away, except I wasn't feeling the best.  

Extreme heat and cold have a tendency to send me literally under the weather.  I don't recall that at age eighteen.  I guess with the wind chills higher than the subzero level, I finally had the energy to get that last load of stuff put away.  The containers, already in the garage, were put on the shelves.  The tree was folded and gently smushed to go back into the box.  

The Nativity was finally brought in from the front porch, with every resident wrapped in bubble wrap and stored away.  I felt guilty each time I saw baby Jesus swaddled in the manger in subzero temperatures.

It feels good that the house is almost back to what it was.  There is just a little tweaking to be accomplished here and there but that won't take long.  As much as I love the Christmas season and miss the sparkle, I also enjoy returning to a normal house and schedule.

As I look ahead to this year, I have no idea what to expect.  If you think about it, in January of 2020, there was nothing in our wildest imaginations that would indicate the surprises of that year and the shock of 2022.  Yes, for me 2020 was a surprise but I found the changes made to our country and the world in 2021 to be one shock after another.

As I have shared with friends, there were some months last year when I felt very depressed.  Although I think a more appropriate word would be... untethered.  It seemed like I had followed Alice through The Looking Glass and the world was upside down almost overnight.

For awhile, I couldn't make sense of the changes.  It was hard to take hold of anything.  This new world was a frightening place and just as I was thinking perhaps I understood what was happening, another crack would take place in the ground of society as I knew it.

I have been a believer in Bible prophecy since I read The Late Great Planet Earth around 1970.  It was an eye opener, although it was written from the perspective of world events in the late 1960s.  Hal Lindsey, as with many other Bible teachers, speculated that the return of Christ could be around the year1988... forty years after the founding of Israel, if we looked at a generation being forty years.

However, he and other teachers began to see prophecy from a lens that became clearer as the years and decades went by.  I always thought it was like God showed us one spotlight to step toward (think Jimmy Durante if you remember his leaving the stage) and when we got to that spot, we could see His Story more clearly than we had before.

Then, usually in a few years, we saw another spotlight on the stage floor and we stepped there, eventually understanding a little more each decade.  It was impossible when Lindsey wrote his first book to know for certain what the future would hold because it was shrouded in a fog that did not clear until we came nearer.

But then we came to the years 2020 and 2021, when one event tumbled after another and we barely had time to catch our breath before reading another alarming headline.  This was more than I had counted on back in the good old days of 2019.

I was untethered from my eschatology, which was already less firm than others since I could see the view of pre-tribulation and mid-tribulation teaching.  Maybe even some post-tribulation thrown in.  However, I hadn't expected the world to change this fast!

John Piper has stated, "Books don't change people, paragraphs do... sometimes sentences".  I've thought of that when one statement given by another pastor (who, ironically, has a very different view of eschatology than Piper) said something in a sermon on television.

I love to watch Pastor David Jeremiah and in his previous series, based on a book he had just published, he stated something like... "The events of the future tend to cast their shadow before they happen".  Later he used the same sentence except he said the Book of Revelation was casting its' shadow on our world today.

Honestly, it was like everything fell into place in my thinking.  What I was seeing around me was the shadow of what was to come.  Perhaps very soon but I cannot say that absolutely.

God wasn't having us step right into the events of a Tribulation to come.  Instead, He was laying the ground work for what is to come.  He is allowing those with discernment to see the shadow of future events and instead of mourning the pre-2020 world, we should be in His Word and looking at what we can do for soon... and very soon... our King really is coming.

This is not 1970 and the fog around future events is clearing.  I realized I would not be untethered as long as my foundation was in God's Word.  Our Father holds on to us during these times, not unlike He would hold on to the proverbial sparrow in a storm.

I began to realize I wasn't so much confused as much as I was afraid.  If we are seeing all of these birth pains happening as they are today, then what will happen tomorrow?  How will I survive?  How will my family walk through what is ahead?

What if we do go through part of the Tribulation?  I can now see the shadow of an Antichrist figure.  I can now see what will happen if you do not take the Mark of the Beast.  I can feel the increasing evil in our country and in the world.  Breath in... breath out... where is that paper bag when I need it?

What I came to realize last year was that this is no longer church as usual.  We either believe the Bible... or we do not.  The people who will have that peace that passes understanding are those that begin to spend time each day with God and in His Word.  

That doesn't mean we do not read novels, or watch an occasional (clean) movie, or even start a new hobby.  It doesn't mean we quit our job and move to Wyoming.  It does mean we have to ask God daily for His wisdom and discernment and pray it over our families.

This is not the Great Tribulation, yet, so that means what we are going through is not new to this world.  People have had these sames fears and experiences.  God has brought them through and they are often stronger for it.  Without God, we have no chance.  With God, we can walk fearless in the face of the future.

The Bible says there is a crown waiting those who look forward to His coming.  That is one crown I can rest assured that I will receive.  Maranatha is a daily prayer!

Remember, God has not given us the spirit of fear... but faith!  If you are fearing a lot these days (and I was), that is not God whispering in your ear.  Look into His Word for what He is saying to you.  He has given you power, love, and a sound mind... and the promise of an eternity that is more wonderful than what we can ask or think.


NanaC said...

This was so encouraging! I have had a lot of the same feelings about what is happening in the world lately, and with little grandchildren, have worried about their future! But my pastor keeps saying we, and they, we’re born for such a time as this and we do not need to worry! So, I realize I need to trust God with their future, as well as mine, and to keep my ear tuned in to hear His voice. I like the reference to “the shadows of things to come.” We need discernment and to look to Him for our peace for He is our peace. I love how you have often said Peace is a Person! I like the NIV version of Galatians 5:25. After listing the fruits of the Spirit in verses 22-23, verse 25 says, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” I want to stay so close to God that I am walking in step with Him in these trying times and as it says in Isaiah 30:21 “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’”
Thankful you got a bit of a rest and are back from your blog break.
Laura C.(WA)

Maria said...

Thank you for this post! I love that you used the term “untethered”. It helped me to understand what I’ve been experiencing. I am grateful for your blog.

Anonymous said...

Good Morning Brenda,

Your message hear was interesting to me. I struggle with which theology is "correct" on the end times, specifically the rapture. A couple people that I listen to on a regular basis kind of help, or not... :) One is Rabbi Schneider. He is a Messianic Believer. His message on the feast of Trumpets was very inspiring. He brings out how the Shofar is sounded and it gets louder and louder. Someone else I listen to is that when the trump sounds we will all be changed. To me its in association with this, the shofar from heaven will get louder and louder and we will respond from our spirit and we will be changed. I know sounds odd. I can't relate it how I see it in my head. You many need the Lord to help you with that.
The other person I follow is Wander Alger. About a week or so ago she laid out her perspectives on each theology. Interesting and insightful for sure.


txcatlover said...

These words blessed my heart this morning.

Deanna Rabe said...

Excellent! I'm glad you are moving forward in faith, not fear! God is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

Love you, Brenda!

Carol S. said...

Wonderful, encouraging writing. Thank you.

living from glory to glory said...

Hello, I was so intrigued by this post, well written and could say I so agree with you about the feelings of shock as the World turns... But I was talking with a missionary friend and he told us a generation was closer to eighty years and so just maybe the time clock of Israel becoming a nation is still ticking. Come Lord Jesus Come!
And even looking at these other countries make me so sad that it is harming so many people!
People need Hope and as we know Jesus is our only HOPE!!
Hugs, Roxy

Anonymous said...

Amen! Come quickly Lord Jesus!

Heather LeFebvre said...

Clicking through to Amazon as saw that comforting picture at the top of this post. :) It's like seeing an old friend. Ha ha and your post is like reading an old friend's words. :) Thanks for that final line -- if you are hearing fear whispering in your ear it's not God.

Karen said...

Thank you for putting this into words . I keep reminding myself that God knows , and we don't see the WHOLE picture yet ...but things are becoming clearer. I have had to leave 3 churches over the past 14 years , because the pastors came to the decision that we were no longer going to believe the Bible , "no one knows what it means anyway."....what scares me most were the Christians who never batted an eye but just fell in line with the new teaching...I like what you said about having to step into the light one step at a time. Karen

Karen said...

Thank you for putting this into words . I keep reminding myself that God knows , and we don't see the WHOLE picture yet ...but things are becoming clearer. I have had to leave 3 churches over the past 14 years , because the pastors came to the decision that we were no longer going to believe the Bible , "no one knows what it means anyway."....what scares me most were the Christians who never batted an eye but just fell in line with the new teaching...I like what you said about having to step into the light one step at a time. Karen