“Go your way, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.” Acts 5:20
She hung on for dear life–gripping a tree trunk and screaming unreservedly as murky water gushed fiercely all around. The tidal wave’s immeasurable water and overwhelming strength relentlessly plunged her into absolute horror. Unspeakably terrified and grasping to survive, this woman miraculously, eventually emerged from this tragedy with her family. Their harrowing story is detailed in The Impossible, a film depicting the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
As I sat in the theater watching this movie–muscles tensed and stomach clenched–I waited the entire time for something good to occur. But now, what constantly replays in my mind is that image of Maria hanging onto the tree. In an instant, her life completely changed from material bliss to ravaging despair. I couldn’t help thinking of the soon-coming tribulation God has prepared.
Evil acts of terror such as the 2007 Virginia Tech Massacre and the 2012 Sandy Hook Massacre continue to unfold here in the United States. Surely none of us will forget the terrorist attack of 9/11, nor yesterday’s tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon. Increasingly the news reports violent and depressing events.
It’s only going to get worse.When the tribulation takes place, unimaginably dreadful happenings will systematically transpire. What can we do to prepare?
First, we must know Christ as our Savior. Through Him alone, we will escape God’s rightful judgment for our sins. “For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us …” (1 Thessalonians 5:9-10).
Second, we must display unity as God’s family. God uses the oneness of Christ’s body to express truth to the world: “that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me” (John 17:21).
Third, we must continually share the reason for our hope. No matter what obstacles clutter our path, let us faithfully move forward with the Gospel. God has entrusted us with His message, and people everywhere are in desperate need of Christ. “… always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15).
Friends, it’s not my intention to scare or depress you. But I do desire to jar us into clearer focus. Every passing day brings us closer to Christ’s return. For those of us who know Him, indescribable joy awaits. Yet we also have the privileged responsibility to proclaim Him while we wait. Maybe you feel like me–ineffective in personally leading others to Christ. Yes, I write and speak for Him, but I pray for the opportunity to win souls one-on-one. I don’t know how that will happen. But we mustn’t give up, for lives hang in the balance.
The apostles were instructed to “stand and speak … the whole message of this Life”. May we continue their legacy as ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). Let’s enthusiastically share how our Jesus hung on a tree, suffered excruciating pain, willingly died … then rose again. HE is the Life!
We all know someone who hasn’t placed their faith in Christ. Judgment is coming. Before tragedy strikes, God is calling us to STAND and SPEAK.
“and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel” – Ephesians 6:19