“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)
We are living in turbulent times. Around us, things seem to be changing on a daily basis. Things we never expected to happen are occurring on a regular basis. If we are not careful, it is easy to become overwhelmed by all that is going on around us. What should we as believers be doing in these days? When He walked on earth, our Lord spoke to His disciples concerning the last days. I’m not sure if these are the last days, but the world around us sure seems to hold all the indications of being near that time. So, let’s listen to the Master as He instructed His followers concerning these times.
First, we should Give Heed – “When these things begin to come to pass.” We must be aware of what is happening around us. What are “these things” to which the Lord was referring? The preceding passage unfolds it for us. Confusion (8): “Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ.” Conflict (9-10): “When ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified.” Calamities (11): “Great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences.” Condemnation (16-17): “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.” Crises (26) “Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth.” We must give heed to what is happening around us. While we certainly will not be benefited by incessantly following what is going on, we must not hide our heads in the sand and ignore what is happening. We can be aware that things are shaping up just as the Bible has declared they would. We are watching prophecy unfold before our very eyes, and we have a front-row seat to the action! Yes, we must give heed to what is occurring.
Next, we should Gaze Heavenward – “Then look up.” It is important that while we are aware of what is unfolding around us, this is not to be the primary focus of our attention. If we look around, we will get discouraged. Our situation will overwhelm us. If we look behind, we will be disappointed. The failures of our past will haunt us. If we look ahead, we will be distressed. The uncertainty and ever-changing conditions will cause us to be overtaken by apprehension and fear. But if we look up, we will be delighted! Looking unto Jesus” (Hebrews 12:2). He will never disappoint; He will never desert; and He will never be defeated!
And so, we should Get Happy – “And lift up your heads.” Don’t be downhearted—its time to get happy! This is confirmation – things are unfolding just as He promised they would. He has never been wrong before, and this will not be the first time. I may not understand what is happening, but He does, and I can trust Him. This confirmation leads to jubilation. My heart is overflowing with peace and joy knowing that He is in control. As the chorus we used to sing says:
I’m happy in the Lord anyway,
And it really doesn’t matter, What comes my way today.
I’m going to wear a smile, Hold my head up high and say,
“I’m happy in the Lord anyway.”
And this results in anticipation. Something is about to happen! Just as a child’s excitement increases as Christmas Day approaches, so for the child of God our excitement is growing every passing day.
Because we are Going Home – “Your redemption draweth nigh.” Every day that passes brings us one day closer to His glorious appearing when He shall call us home. Paul lays it out for us in I Thessalonians 4:16-18. There will be a return: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout” (16). There will be a resurrection: “The dead in Christ shall rise” (16). There will be a rapture: “Then we… shall be caught up” (17). There will be a reunion: “Together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air” (17). And there will be rejoicing: “So shall we ever be with the Lord.” As Walter Harrah wrote:
No more night, No more pain,
No more tears, never crying again;
And praises to the Great I Am;
We will live in the light of the risen Lamb.
Let’s go about this week with our hands busy in the service of the King and our eyes looking upward for His soon appearing: “Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing” (Matthew 24:46).
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Bro. Burcham serves as the Chairman of the Bible Department at Golden State Baptist College. Prior to coming to GSBC, he served as a missionary with his family in Japan for a number of years and then pastored in Missouri. Bro. Burcham also teaches an adult Sunday school class at NVBC.