E SAT TOGETHER ON A SMALL SOFA IN OUR TOWNHOME. I BROUGHT two glasses and sparkling apple cider. My husband contributed a windup, battery, and solar-powered flashlight/radio and duct tape. It was minutes before the clock would strike midnight, signaling the start of 2000. We were prepared for the disaster that many feared imminent once the world’s computers malfunctioned. For at least a year we had listened to the dire predictions and had prepared for society’s meltdown.
We were ready for . . . nothing. Nothing catastrophic, that is. The lights didn’t go out, and no loud explosions rocked our home. “Happy New Year,” I said as I handed my husband his glass.
“Yeah, whatever, you too,” he said. Taking a sip, he gave me a perfunctory peck, and headed to bed. He had expected something astounding to happen, and when it didn’t, he felt disappointed.
That’s part of the problem with trying to predict and prepare for the future—especially the end of the world. We see the signs, hear the news, and interpret, many times to suit our needs. Then we get busy; we don’t keep Mark 13:31-33 and 1 Cor. 13:12 firmly before us, and when things don’t go as expected, we get disappointed.
Former associate editor Frederick Lee wrote that “there are no statistics, no results to date by which we can gain an understanding as to how our appointed work is to be completed. The Divine Word tells us that it will be finished, and finished quickly, when the final hour is about to strike. That word should be sufficient to steady our faith and establish our hope” (“The Loud Cry of the Message,” The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, “Centennial Special, 1844-1944,” p. 60).
On October 22, 1844, Advent believers also felt disappointment. And I imagine it took them a lot longer to work through that distress (my husband was fine in the morning). Some never recovered their faith, their hope.
But some did.
__________This article was published October 22, 2009.
Kimberly Luste Maran is an assistant editor of the Adventist Review.