But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.2 Timothy 3:1
At church this morning I spoke with a couple who is facing a significant challenge in their family as a brother is suffering from a terminal diagnosis of brain cancer. His condition is creating stress throughout his immediate family as others are unable to come to terms with all that is happening. It is a chaotic scenario.
While this is a difficult situation in its own right, it was the hostility in his family that concerned the couple and as we talked we spoke of a kind of general hostility and sense of animosity that goes deeper in our culture.
Since I was very young, I have lived in anticipation of what churches have spoken about as the “last days.” Frankly, I don’t always know what to make of what we see going around us, but as followers of Christ, there should always be hope in the chaos of the moment.
A couple of weeks ago I listened as a trusted pastor made reference to this passage as he described the condition of much of our world. When I read this I am reminded of Jesus’ words in Matthew 24 –
And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.Matthew 24: 4-8
And there is the hope. Birth pains (as I am told) are intense and usually increase with frequency and severity up until the moment when the child is born. As the psalmist wrote, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning! (Psalm 30:5).