This past year has been filled with things that matter; filled with profound things that matter to humanity. Political unrest, injustice, natural disasters, violence—the list could take the rest of this piece.
These things could indeed be a fulfillment of prophecy signaling that the long-awaited end is much sooner than we think. For anyone longing to see Jesus, that is truly our hope. However, the Bible is pretty clear that no one truly knows the “when” except the Father. And for those who’ve wrestled with Him on concerns great and small, we also know His timing is something we can’t correctly comprehend.
In the meantime, aside from wringing our hands and posting social media messages of “our prayers and thoughts are with you” in the face of horrific world events, what are we really supposed to do while we wait?
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr.
In reading the many comments we receive to Facebook posts and online articles related to the tragedies and injustices unfolding on a seemingly daily basis, I’ve noticed several alluding to how none of this really matters because Jesus is coming soon.
So, if I’m following this logic correctly, Puerto Rico being 75 percent without power for more than a month after Hurricane Maria doesn’t matter. Our brothers and sisters in our communities continuously hurt through racism and violence don’t matter. Homes and schools burned to the ground, upending lives overnight, don’t matter. Countries destabilized by governments bringing chaos and economic collapse to innocents don’t matter. It’s all part of what’s supposed to happen, right? Because we should just focus on readying ourselves for Jesus’ coming.
But that’s exactly it: Jesus is coming because He can’t let the hurt go on. How do we share that with a devastated world? The world is asking, “Where are you Christians? Aren’t you all supposed to care? Isn’t that your Jesus message? I know this, because I’ve literally been asked that by nonbelievers who want to know what followers of this Jesus plan to do.
How do you spread the gospel, without caring, to someone who doesn’t have electricity to read the tracts we hand out? How do you effectively extol the mercy of God to someone burying a loved one gunned down in senseless violence? How do you show the relevance of Jesus’ soon coming to a person trapped in a refugee camp for years where soon isn’t soon enough? And how could anyone say it doesn’t matter? To aching hearts in need of dire help, there is no good news without any of us living the good news first.While we are still here, for as long as He sees fit for us to be here, it all matters. While we wait, we can’t embrace silence and cling to prophecy about the end of the world without trying to help this hurting world. Because their pain is exactly the reason He’s coming back (see Matthew 25:34-40).
None of it matters because Jesus is coming soon? Because Jesus is coming soon is exactly why all of it matters.