When people are saying, “Peace and security,” then sudden disaster comes upon them… 1 Th 5:3
And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region. Luke 4:37
I recently took a road trip that included passing through many areas near great forest fires. Although I never came close to the actual fire, signs directing firefighters to the base camps and the deep haze of smoke in the air left no doubt that there was some disaster nearby. But there were also many signs thanking those who were working the fire lines, showing great gratitude for the dangerous and often deadly work they were doing to protect others. This is also seen in the pictures coming out of Houston of regular folk helping each other, carrying family and friends, strangers and even unknown pets to safety.
Paul’s statement in 1 Thessalonians certainly describes what many are experiencing these days. Floods, fires, contended elections, the movement of refugees, the list goes on and on. He names these events “The day of the Lord,” that comes, “like a thief in the night.” Unannounced and unlooked for, sudden disaster comes. For many years I equated “the day of the Lord” with the disasters themselves. God was angry with something and He sent His righteous judgement to balance the scales. However, Paul continues that we should remain awake during these events because we have gained salvation. If we are indeed saved, why would the day of the Lord, a disaster come upon us?
What if the disasters just happen? What if trials and troubles are just part of our human journey here on the earth? What does that make “the day of the Lord?” What if the day of the Lord is when He is especially close to us, holding us through the troubles, inspiring us to help each other? What if the day of the Lord is when He is calling us to be awake and see His living presence in those around us, regardless of color, gender, political leaning, age, etc.? Calling us to help and witness others helping? What if the day of the Lord is not the disasters themselves, but God’s response to seeing His children suffer?
As Jesus said, the time is fulfilled, the kingdom of God is at hand. He may as well said, “today is the day of the Lord.” He lived His life in constant service, even when it contradicted social convention, i.e., healing on the Sabbath. As a result news of Him spread far and wide. Jesus is God’s response to all of our suffering.
My prayer for myself is that I make every day a “day of the Lord,” finding ways to serve those around me.
Talib Huff, in addition to many other things, works and volunteers at Christ the King Retreat Center in Citrus Heights. You can reach him at [email protected].