Drones and missiles — intended precision, intended misses? — what just happened? Perhaps the simplest explanation is it’s the New Year. Again. And nothing’s changed really.
Not that the world was expecting much of a change. Life goes on, pretty much paying back in the cyclical currency we’re all used to — night and day, hot and cold, wet and dry, happy and sad, up and down, peace and war, strong and weak, love and hate, fear and calm, winners and losers, haves and have-nots, and on and on. Human, planetary cycles — we get it, we live with their ebb and flow.
So when sudden change strikes — anywhere, anytime — our status quo is shattered, because the familiar cycle is broken. And suddenly — personally or collectively — we’re on red alert — just like this New Year’s beginning.
What’s so fascinating is both Jesus and Paul zero in on that sudden unexpectedness. In fact, both of them identify sudden, unexpected violence as the critical marker for the earth’s endgame.
Jesus somberly reminds us of two ancient events — the antediluvian flood and the incineration of Sodom and Gomorrah, both classic reminders of sudden, unexpected violence. “‘As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man’” — sudden, unexpected violence (Matt. 24:37, NIV). “‘It was the same in the days of Lot. . . . It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed’” — sudden, unexpected violence (Luke 17:28, 30, NIV).
Then Paul shapes Jesus’ twin warnings into his own prophetic caution: “For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, ‘Peace and safety,’ destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape”—sudden, unexpected violence (1 Thess. 5:2, 3).
The point is not about living in fear — humanity already has a nervous twitch. Truth is, the friends of Jesus have nothing to fear — nail-scarred hands securely hold all our lives. The point instead is, now is the perfect time for Love to be on the move, really on the move.
What a force for good in the midst of endemic uncertainty! Imagine it — the incarnated love of Jesus crisscrossing a campus, a community, a country, a civilization through the humble, compassionate likes of you and me. Would it be a game-changer? Are you kidding!
“If we would humble ourselves before God, and be kind and courteous and tender-hearted and pitiful [full of pity], there would be one hundred conversions to the truth where now there is only one,” wrote church co-founder Ellen G. White in Welfare Ministry (p. 86).
One hundred people coming to Christ and experiencing the joy, peace, and security of His friendship — one hundred children, teens, young adults, and the not so young — where before there was just one! How come? Because people are that hungry to be loved. The United States and the world have never been more needy and open to selfless compassion than right now.
So I say let’s go — you and me — and be the Love on the Move Jesus needs us to be this New Year. A hundred to one — talking about sudden and unexpected — but then that’s Jesus for you — fully engaged with His friends in Love’s sudden, unexpected endgame harvest.
This post originally appeared on the New Perceptions Television blog, The Fourth Watch.