What time is it?
I have a clock on my mantel that is about fifteen or so years old. As long as the battery lasts, it keeps good time. The ticking clock does annoy me when I am trying to concentrate or rest! Ticking sounds are supposed to be relaxing but not to me. For the last few weeks, the ticking continues but the hands never move. I have replaced the battery, but there is still no movement. It’s the only clock in the room. When I need to know the time, I have to get out of my chair and go to another source to find the time. The lack of movement of those minute and second hands reminds me that time is always moving whether we recognize it or not. Time never stands still. We are here on this earth just a short time. It may seem long in earthly years; but eternal years, it’s just a blip on the eternal clock.
I was listening to Anne Graham Lotz teaching from the book of Joel in her conference from earlier this year at The Cove. She believes we are in the last moments of time before Jesus comes back. I tend to agree with her. The “natural” and man-made disasters are occurring too frequently to think it’s just a coincidence. God is slow to pronounce judgment just yet, but I believe He is giving us the warning signs that judgment is coming. He is slow because He wants no one to perish. He is giving us time to reach our friends and neighbors to tell them about Jesus. He is giving His church time to clean house and get things in order. I am reminded every now and then that we are to pay attention to the time. God sends us the signals for our benefit so that we are not caught unaware.
At my small group last night, we discussed the first coming of Jesus. No one recognized the time. Jesus came in the form of a baby. No one expected Him. After a long time of waiting, the people of God were complacent. They lost track of their purpose. People drift along with the current times and forget that God sets in motion the exact time and place for His promises to be fulfilled. God had been silent for four hundred years. There wasn’t a prophet to announce another word – it had already been foretold previously. The people of God were supposed to know the signs and significance of the coming, but they missed it. Even Jesus’ family missed the significance. His half-brothers didn’t understand until after Jesus’ resurrection. Then the light dawned for them.
I wonder what it’s going to take to wake us up to see what God wants us to see. How will we recognize our own time? God foretold the news of Jesus’ return in the Bible. More prophecies are written about His second coming than His first. Yet, are we really paying attention? I can imagine the time of Jesus’ first coming when life was happening. The time was brutal. People were in desperate times. I used to think that the time we are in now is worse than anything we’ve ever witnessed before. But reality is: the times really haven’t changed much throughout the centuries. Evil is still evil. And evil has been around from the beginning. We just have the means with technology to see it in real-time. Evil just takes a different form now – but it’s still evil. People are still in desperate times. For those of us in North America, we are insulated from real desperation. We don’t experience the trouble like our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world experience on a daily basis.
Anne and Joel Rosenberg were teaching the book of Joel so that those who were hearing these things could help others to know and understand too. We are told to be “watchmen on the wall.” We need to be watching the signs and telling others of the importance of what we are seeing and hearing. We were encouraged to study and teach this small book as well. I am anticipating the glorious appearing. There is still time to reach my people with the word before it’s too late. Time may be running out. The clock is ticking. The hands may not be moving where I can actually see them, but God is always at work – even when it all seems quiet on the western front. It is never as it seems.
“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.” Matthew 24:32-33