There’s No Easy Way to Say This:

One man set out on a long walk fraught with risks and dangers except he didn’t know the walk would be long and no one had warned him about the dangers.

Another man of similar size and strength set out on the same long walk fraught with similar risks and dangers. He didn’t know the particulars of what he would encounter but he expected it to be hard and to require all of his strength and capabilities. He undertook the walk, anyway, because he also understood his purpose, knew he had a task that only he could accomplish, and kept an eye out for fellow travelers.

Which man do you think completed the journey?

Generations of people, from the time of the early church until very recent history were warned that following Jesus is not an easy choice. The first believers knew it might cost them their lives. Entire generations chose to follow Jesus, not based on the promise that life would get easier but based, instead, on the truth that Jesus is worth following no matter the risk.

Sometime in recent history, a generation of people heard the gospel presented as if Jesus was just another flavor of religion. Coke or Pepsi? McDonald’s or Burger King? Jesus or Mohammed? They believed promises of lives straightened out, of blessings to flow unhindered, of financial, health, and emotional benefits unknown by people of other faiths.

And Jesus sounded like a good deal so they took Him.

Except the only ones that were taken was this generation of believers. At first, following Jesus did seem like a great time, especially when they stopped living according to the desires of their sinful natures and chose, instead, to live by the Spirit, to obey God’s word. Initially, life improved.

But, rain fell on their lives just like everyone else’s. And, not just rain. Marital stress, financial troubles, loved ones wrestling with addiction, disease, unemployment, and every kind of loss. At times, they saw miraculous answers to prayer but at other times, they suffered just like everyone else.

After a time, some of them lost heart. Many pulled off to the side of the narrow road to reconsider the journey. Why keep walking, they thought? Our salvation is secure. Heaven awaits. This walk is not what we expected; it’s certainly not what we were led to believe. And Jesus loves us even if we just wait for Him right here. Nothing really depends on us continuing to stay on the road, right?

Imagine a woman entering labor with no understanding that she is pregnant. Consider how she might react as she suddenly convulsed with pain so relentless and seemingly unending it made her believe the only thing that could be at the end of that pain was death. If someone came along beside her, she might beg them to end her suffering because it seemed so pointless, so overwhelming, so without end.

Compare that to a woman who deeply understands her condition. She is bearing a long-awaited life. When her labor begins, she welcomes the journey though not the pain. Momentarily, she panics. She can’t do this. She cannot endure. It’s too much. She must turn back. But, then, she remembers, no, this journey through pain ends in new life and she is the only one who can see it through to the end. Knowing this, she rallies, she braces for what she must endure, she calls on those who support her and relies on their encouragement, but she grits her teeth because she must do the work necessary to usher new life into the world.

Am I making sense?

There’s no easy way to say this, loved ones: the planet is experiencing the beginning of birth pangs.

The start of labor, as everyone knows, is the start of a long stretch of pain. We are heading into that stretch. If you choose to follow Jesus, the pain will be even worse.

The teachers, preachers, prophets, and writers who warn you of this don’t do so to frighten you but to prepare you. We want you to be the walker who understands the nature of the journey, who comes mentally and emotionally prepared to every mountain and valley, who knows he or she has a specific task we all rely on you to carry out along the way, who knows we need you.

We want you to be the woman prepared for labor, who understands her role in ushering new life onto the planet, who will endure because she knows there is purpose in the pain, who faces crushing agony with the strength of one who has given herself over to love.

There’s no easy way to say this, the road ahead is fraught with danger, with enemy activity, and with pain but we can journey together, we can remind one another of our purpose and our hope, we can labor as one body knowing that eternal life will emerge on the other side of our pain.

Keep this post nearby. Read it again in the dark hours. And when you do, know we are in them together.

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,  who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” I Thessalonians 5:1-11 

So, how about you? Where do you see Biblical prophecy playing out in the headlines? What do you understand from Scripture and from the Lord about how we should prepare our hearts and minds to endure? Share your encouragement and wisdom with us all by adding your comments below!

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6 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Cyn Rogalski says:

    I, too, have had thoughts of a birthing coming, not only in this world at this time, but in my own spiritual life as well. For years, I’ve felt an urgency, that’s time is short; Satan knows his time is limited, and bow, more than ever–we, who are called by His Name, must act.
    I have been in a time of preparation-not sure for what, but He knows.
    Thank you for this confirmation.
    PRAYING!

  2. Maxine D says:

    I have just read the Harbinger by Jonathan Cahn – very thought provoking, and it added to the sense that time is short. Preparations – I think prayer and drawing close to the Father is really the best preparation we can have.
    Blessings
    Maxine

  3. Jesus is worth it! I love that!
    I’m dismayed at the rosy picture painted by many, including preachers and teachers, when talking to unbelievers: With Jesus as your Savior, you have a new life. You are free from the shackles of sin. You are His child and He loves you.
    Those statements are true, but they’re only half the story. New believers expect a rosy life, walking in the garden with their Father. When troubles hit, even those experienced by everyone, they are totally unprepared and they feel deceived and abandoned. I know I did.
    The truth is: yes, you have a new life; yes, you are freed from the domination of sin; yes you are God’s child and He loves you, but He doesn’t wipe away life’s struggles. In fact, following Him brings attack from the world and from Satan.
    The testimony of a believer should be “Jesus is worth it!” Only then can an unbeliever see the truth of following Christ. I’m not advocating a horror story but honesty about our Christian walk. Unbelievers will respond to honesty faster than to a rose-garden story.
    Sorry – got on my soapbox for a minute.

  4. You’re right, this is a very thought provoking post. I don’t have the words to express how I feel, but am glad I am not the only one seeing and feeling the first signs.

  5. Jaime says:

    I became a Christian 17 years ago, started studying the Bible about 15 years ago and Revelation has always fascinated me. So it is very unusual for me to have just begun this journey ad already be seeing so many signs of the end all around me in my lifetime when the ancient saints sat and waited for years trying to interpret into being what wasn’t yet to come! It’s fascinating and scary at the same time!

  6. Tammy Noel Smith says:

    I have been anticipating such a time as this for awhile now.I read every Martyr story that I can get my hands on.Some people think this is morbid of me,but the reasoning behind it,is not.When I read the stories of my brothers and sisters around God’s globe,I am thoroughly encouraged for the rough terrain I WILL find myself on.Their stories lift me up,inspire me and remind me constantly,what EXACTLY,Jesus did for me on that bloody cross at Calvary! Your post here,inspired me as all the Martyr stories have.We have seen resistance to our faith in Christ Jesus ALONE,from neighbors,family and yes,even people within the church.Thank you for the encouragement! Our family has been preparing for this dark time as we sing hymns and praises to Jesus,putting Scripture to memory,and above all else…preaching the Gospel while we still have that freedom.Someday,we won’t and when we don’t have that freedom and we still speak the Gospel regardless,we will be ready to join the Martyrs.