In the past couple of years alone, we have witnessed a progression of world events that are truly unprecedented in the annals of human history.  Massive fires, droughts, hurricanes, earthquakes, civil unrest, and threats of war have occupied the mainstream media and held the minds of billions throughout the world captive – wondering when the next catastrophe will strike. Over the past few weeks, this parade of carnage and destruction has increased at an even more alarming rate. Yet, despite this obvious plunge into the most challenging times that any of us have ever seen, most of those in our churches are still asleep.  They gather for worship on Sabbath, sing hymns, listen to messages that often say little about our times, and then go back to the status quo as though nothing has changed. They reason that there will be a tomorrow. They comfort themselves with the thought that everything will soon return to normal, and their lives will go on unscathed.  They plan their weddings, their next vacation, and their agenda at work for the upcoming months.  It is as though the admonishments in Scripture have suddenly become two dimensional; a colorful series of vignettes that do not really apply to their lives or to the time they have left in this world.  It is a convenient way of escaping the reality of where all of this is tending, and an impediment to making the changes necessary for the soon return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  It is called denial.  It is a grave danger and an inescapable mistake that may leave many saying in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” Will we honestly want to hear the answer to those questions?

It is time for all of us to accept the fact that our lives are about to change – that everything we once knew will be no longer.  Many of us talk about the glorious return of Jesus Christ for those who have been faithful, yet on some level, quite frankly, we really do not want that to happen yet because we are not ready to let go of this world.  We have become too accustomed to the status quo – waking up in the morning and getting ready for work or school, along with myriad other mundane things that we do almost mechanically.  But what about genuinely preparing for the return of our Lord and Savior in the clouds of Heaven?  Where does that fit in?  Scripture admonishes us that we will “hear of wars and rumors of wars, and that nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”(Matt 24:6-7).  In the book, Testimonies to for the Church, we are admonished that “The agencies of evil are combining their forces and consolidating. They are strengthening for the last great crisis. Great changes are soon to take place in our world, and the final movements will be rapid ones.”  Let’s face it, this is exactly where we are in time. We need to wake up.  If what is impending is not clearly apparent by now, I do not know what is.

So, what are the two most important things we need to do right now to be ready for what is to come?   First and foremost, pay attention.  Be cognizant of the signs of the times. “So likewise, ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors.” (Matt 24:33).  Most importantly, work on your character so that you are prepared for the final moments that lie ahead.  “Therefore, be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh.” (Matt 24:44).  It is time to stop engaging one diversion after another.  It is time to come out of our denial and accept the reality of the upcoming events that are soon to change our lives forever.

Arnie Suntag
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