What It Means that Events Happened So Swiftly in Our World

It’s the swiftness of what’s happened that leaves us breathless.

How swiftly twenty years of investment by soldiers, missionaries, business owners, women’s advocates, Afghan citizens, and philanthropists can be undone.

How swiftly a storm can build to catastrophic strength.

How swiftly fire can consume everything in its path.

How swiftly Christians can be so overwhelmed by global needs, we forget the power and perspective of our Great God.

Swiftly is a powerful concept in the Bible. Four times, in Revelation 22, Jesus says that He is coming “soon” or swiftly. It’s been over 2000 years since John received these words, so we know Jesus doesn’t consider “soon” from our perspective.

One understanding (translation) of the word “soon” (tachy in the Greek), is that it’s more akin to saying, “Once I come, things will happen quickly – or swiftly.”

Tachy is the root of English words like tachometer (an instrument that measures speed), tachyon (an particle that travels faster than the speed of light), and tachycardia (a racing heart.)

It’s like telling women in their ninth month of pregnancy to be prepared. It may feel as if labor is never going to begin, but when it does, it can progress quickly.

It’s why Jesus told the parable of the ten bridesmaids and their lamps.

Five came prepared with oil for their lamps but the other five neglected to bring oil. The hour grew late, and the bridesmaids grew drowsy, when suddenly, the bridegroom arrived. As the five foolish bridesmaids dashed off to purchase oil, they were shut out of the marriage celebration.  The bridegroom was a long time coming but when he arrived, the celebration commenced quickly.

When Jesus arrived on earth the first time, His people had awaited His arrival for many generations.

Some grew accustomed to waiting but had ceased to believe Messiah would ever come. Some had spiritualized the waiting. Some had quietly stopped believing in a personal Messiah but instead, immersed themselves in the tradition of religion – as if that was the point.

And all of these missed Jesus, the Messiah, when He stood before them in the flesh.

Our generation must learn from the generation of Ancient Jews who missed Jesus

We must learn from the signs our times – the swift toppling of regimes, the swift destruction of sudden storms, the swift power of consuming fires.

Jesus will come again. The end will come. Judgement will take place.

We, in the now and in the know, should be challenging ourselves – if not now, when?

If I don’t study my Bible now, when will I consider it the optimal time?

If I don’t devote time to prayer now, when will the time for prayer be right?

If I don’t tell my loved ones and neighbors and coworkers and friends the truth about Jesus now, when will I consider the state of their souls a timely topic?

Do we think there will be a great moment when we all realize a boldness we never knew and suddenly are able to create depth in our spiritual lives and share the gospel with our friends? Such is not the way.

The truth is, it’s likely there will never be a better time than now for deepening our relationship with Jesus and for sharing the truth of the gospel.

The way is this – we open God’s Word and ask for wisdom every morning of every day even if it doesn’t seem to promise His return at day’s end.

We surrender to prayer in the morning, at noon, and at night – pouring out our intercession, praise, petitions, thanksgiving, and warfare – stumbling over words, fumbling to hear His voice, even when His return seems anything but swift.

And we show up for people. All people. Those who know Him and those who don’t. In Jesus’ name.

We ask for His love for them. We ask them question. Listen to their hearts. We share ours. We let them see into our lives – transparently displaying light, even if it flickers at times. And we find the words to tell them about Jesus – the One our souls love.

Not because we’re so smart or good but because He’s so wonderful, life-altering, and the only true light.

We don’t wait.

He’s given us everything we need for life and godliness. He’s warned us that when the end comes, events will transpire swiftly. He demonstrates swift events before our eyes.

He who has ears to hear, hear this. Do it now. Do it all now. All the good you know to do – NOW is the time.

Once upon a time, I was gathered with a group of friends mourning a woman we all prayed would survive cancer. She was taken at 44. With us was a man who didn’t know Jesus. He remarked to me that we mourned differently than others he had known. We mourned with hope.

I asked if he had made a commitment to follow Jesus. “No,” he replied, “I think I’ll do it like the thief on the cross. In those last few moments, I’ll invite Him in.”

“Crazy!” I said (quite unlike me, I assure you, made bold at our loss and by the Spirit). “Your car may crash when you leave here today! You don’t know how life will end and when the end comes, it may come so swiftly, you don’t have time to decide. If Jesus is God (and He is), now is the time to follow Him.

And he did. Right there. He never looked back.

And I thought – how many other opportunities have I missed waiting for the perfect time?

The perfect time, my friends, is now.


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4 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Anonymous says:

    Brilliant Lori, I live near where you think.

  2. Tammy Breeding says:

    Great perspective, great reminder! If not now, when indeed…God bless you Lori!

  3. Carla FEMAT says:

    Amen! Love this. Now is always the time to reach out to God and others. But, with the signs we see , the swiftness of current events now really is the time. Thank you for your expressive writing and encouragement.
    Carla

  4. Sherry Carter says:

    The time is now, Lori, but I don’t think of it as the time of the one who needs to hear. I often remind myself that I might be hit by an eighteen-wheeler the next time I drive to the store. Not in a morbid way, but to remember that my time to talk about Jesus, act like Him, and serve Him is now.