Last week in a House of Representative hearing, the U.S. Congress learned that North Korea is capable of an EMP attack on the United States. An EMP attack (electro magnetic pulse) would occur if a nuclear missile or nuclear bomb device is detonated hundred of miles above the United States. In this kind of attack, the immediate fiery and destructive force of the blast is contained in space, but the EMP produced would hit the country, frying everything electrical. In essence, the nation would instantly be living in the dark, with little hope of recovering electrical power, within a year, if ever.
Under these conditions, there would be no water, sanitation, or delivery systems being that they all function with electricity. Hospitals would be useless, as well as first responders, as their transportation would be lost. The rank and file populace can forget about driving off to escape to Canada, for all vehicles within the EMP blast zone will never work again. Within a week the food supply will be gone through looting and rioting, because with no media, there will be no way to bring calm to the populace. Congress was told that within a year 90% of the population would be dead; that means 297,000,000 Americans would most likely die. The U.S. population would shrink to 33,000,000 people. If a solution is not proffered within that first year, millions more would die in the following year.
When I consider this scenario, I am more than momentarily unsettled. Like the picture above I want to run and get to some safe island with my wife, five children and my brother’s and sisters in Christ. The question which brings me back to reality is where in the world would we go?
Death through famine and war abound around the globe, there is rising satanic and bestial human behavior on every continent. Since the August 23, 2017 solar eclipse (less than 2 months ago), there have been four catastrophic hurricanes, more than a few major life taking earthquakes. The world has experienced many volcanic eruptions, including the possibility of the eruption of the Yellowstone super volcano, which could send the world into a volcanic winter. It would appear there is a distinct possibility Jesus’ words in Matthew 24:6-8 are coming to pass…
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation with rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these things are the beginnings of the sorrows.”
There are two key elements, aside from the list of troubling things Jesus itemizes, which we must address. The first is that the catastrophic evens and rumors of them are “the beginning of the sorrows”. The second is that we are not supposed to be troubled by any of them.
In considering the phrase “the beginning of the sorrows”, we understand it to be a reference to child birth. The “beginning of the sorrows” is the time from a woman’s first contraction, which is uncomfortable (and a sign of greater discomfort), until the contractions (very painful) right before the baby comes down the birth canal. Similarly, the events Jesus mentioned in “the beginning of the sorrows”, become more intense, painful, frequent and consistent the closer they come to the big event. This of course suggests that as intense an anxiety causing current events are, they will become even more terrifying, as we come closer to the time of tribulation Jesus spoke of following the “beginning of the sorrows”. This brings us to the second element of Jesus words.
In the midst of speaking of things which would cause the Incredible Hulk to being fearful, Jesus instructs us “See that you are not troubled”. This instruction is remarkable, even for born again men, because of what the word troubled means in the Greek language; “to make no outcry”. Placing the word in the context of child birth, it would be like the doctor commanding the mother giving birth “Stop crying out in pain, you wimp, no fear and no pain in the midst of your birth, be quiet or smile”. My wife gave birth to 5 children and I would never have suggested anything remotely close to that.
Yet Jesus is telling us, don’t do what is natural in the fear and pain. Jesus tells us not to cry out in fear or in pain, nor try to avoid either by running away. I must admit, when I think on the events in Matthew 24, as well as recent current events, my humanity not only wants to cry out in fear, but it wants to run and hide all that is important to me. Yet, in my born again spirit, soul and body, a different desire rises within me, prompting me not to run away, but toward my God.
(Psalm 91:1-3) He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God in Him I will trust.” Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers and under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor the arrow that flies by day, Nor the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noon day.
It is only in His presence we can truly find peace. In this truth we must take our fear of what is to come, and bring it to the LORD Himself. This is what sets us apart from others in practical every day life. It is not that we are fearless, or that the problems of the world do not have the potential to trouble us (there is much to fear), but that in fearful and troubling circumstances we have a guarantee of real peace from God Himself.
(Isaiah 26:3) You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is fixed on you.
(John 14:27) Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
(Philippians 4:6-7) Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your request be made known to God, and the peace that passes understanding, will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.
In the troubling times which are sure to come, the peace we are given is not some ethereal haze of numbness. Our peace is a confidence and freedom from fear and anxiety, based on the solid promise of the word of God. All of this is brought to us by the Holy Spirit, as we surrender to His will. Consider the three Hebrew young men, who were given a command to worship an idol. Think of the potential pain, and anxiety arising from the thought of being placed in the fiery furnace (Daniel 3). These men knew their refusal to follow the kings command would lead to their death, still they had confidence in God’s promise. Read their confidence birthed in the secret place, being spoken for all to hear “…our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king (Daniel 3:17-18)”. Whether rescued or not, they would be no slaves to fear or faithlessness.
In spite of the rising intensity and consistency of catastrophic events, we are called to run to the presence of God. In spite of the growing satanic hatred, which seeks to slaughter His beloved like sheep, we are to cast our care and anxiety on Him, for the peace that passes understanding. In spite of the increasing risk in America against followers of Christ for our faith, we are called to trust in the promise of God. If we continue to live, it is all for Christ’s sake, no matter the consequence. If we die, it is for our gain, for we will be with Christ. Therefore our desire is that whether by life or death Christ is magnified (Philippians 1:20-23). These are the promises which bring us peace in the midst of that which terrifies the world around us.
As we run to the secret place of the Most High in the troubling events of this life, we gaze at Jesus and strengthen our motive and gain fuel for the privilege of suffering on His behalf (Philippians 1:29). This is why Jesus called us not to be troubled;the world around us will lose its mind, while ours is kept in peace by the Holy Spirit of God. When troubling seasons arise, then the people around us will truly see the love of God and the peace of Christ, as we worry not about death, famine, catastrophic death, wars or suffering; but with confidence, love, hope and joy we look to our eternal future which is guaranteed.
(Titus 2:11-14) For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify His own special people, zealous for good works.
(I John 3:2-3) Beloved, now we are the children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
Fear of what is coming is a defiling spiritual toxin that can only be cleansed by our hope in Christ’s return, as we live in the light of that hope. It is that hope that enables us to continue in faith when the unbearable has come upon us. One need only to look to the persecuted Church to see that, for wherever the persecuted church is living in light of this hope of Christ’s return, the unbelieving world around them continue to see the power of God. As proof of this manifested truth, multitudes are running to Christ from the perishing world.
Isn’t it time the perishing see the peace of Christ in us rather than political and cultural panic? No matter what the peril, we must face it with Christ. We must allow Him to be seen through us in the common suffering of the nation in which we live, as well as the suffering we will face due to our hope in Christ alone. Remember that Christ manifest through our lives is the only antidote to the selfish and unholy demise of humanity. He is love, peace, power, joy, hope and life. We can give them this gift.
Trust the Lord, and whether it be an EMP attack, hurricane, earthquake, war or persecution to wipe us out His bride, run to the secret place of the Most High. Here His voice.
(Isaiah 41:10) Fear not for I am with you, be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes I help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.