I haven't posted much this week in the area of Scripture meditations. The reason is that, well, they've been pretty frightening. Seriously, have you read them? If not, take a few moments and check them out. We're talking Apocalyptic readings! Death, famine, earthquakes, fire, and angels with sickles. It's certainly not what I like dancing around in my mind as I put up the Christmas lights on the house!
Although I haven't posted much about the readings, they have been haunting me all week. So, I had to take some time and ask myself, "What is it about these readings that so bothers me?" The gut instinct response is, "I'm scared to meet Christ face to face. I don't think I'm ready. I need Confession and to turn my life more fully toward God."
Isn't that strange that I fear my encounter with Christ more than all these other things. For instance, on Tuesday I read, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky." but it is the Lord I fear.
On Wednesday I heard that, "They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors...You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death", but still I fear meeting the Lord!
Thursday I read, "Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days, for a terrible calamity will come upon the earth and a wrathful judgment upon this people. They will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken as captives...", yet, still, I mainly fear the coming of Christ rather than these things.
Friday, again, I read, "this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away", but I am without fear except for the coming of the Lord!
On Saturday the readings for the week ended with these words of Jesus, "Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man."
After reading all of this I believe that my fear is in the right place. If I were worried about natural disasters my heart would be too concerned with the world. If I were worried about wars and battles to the point that I was paralyzed, then I am sure my heart would be in the wrong place. Even if I were worried about imprisonment, torture, and death (my own or of those I love) then I think my sights would be set only on this world.
None of these things do I fear. Rather, I fear the Living God and pray that I, "have the strength...to stand before the Son of Man." To those of us who fear God and not man, to those who see all the tribulations as nothing compared to our encounter with Christ the King, Jesus says, "when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your heads because your redemption is at hand."
To the worldly, these signs are terror and destruction for they are loosing all that they have placed their hope upon. For those who believe, these are the signs of arrival of all that has been promised.
As Advent begins tomorrow, let us adopt a holy fear of the Lord. A fear that restrains us from offending Him. A fear that is born of love like a lover fearing to offend his beloved. Let us take advantage of this Advent season to truly prepare a way for the Lord to enter into our hearts!
FROM THE SAINTS - Even here amidst trials and temptations let us, let all men, sing alleluia. God is faithful, says holy Scripture, and he will not allow you to be tried beyond your strength. So let us sing alleluia, even here on earth. Man is still a debtor, but God is faithful. Scripture does not say that he will not allow you to be tried, but that he will not allow you to be tried beyond your strength. Whatever the trial, he will see you through it safely, and so enable you to endure. You have entered upon a time of trial but you will come to no harm—God’s help will bring you through it safely. You are like a piece of pottery, shaped by instruction, fired by tribulation. When you are put into the oven therefore, keep your thoughts on the time when you will be taken out again; for God is faithful, and he will guard both your going in and your coming out. - St. Augustine
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