I have been on many flights over the Pacific where I am 33,000 feet high and hours from landing. There are times when the engine pitch seems to change, turbulence bumps the plane around, and I wonder if I should be worried or not (not that worry would accomplish anything). I watch the flight attendants. If they treat it as routine, then I know that this is normal and nothing to worry about.
As I look at the extraordinary and cataclysmic events impacting our world right now the question arises: is this normal? We are in such a flood of extraordinary events we tend to not ask the deeper questions as to what it means and how we should respond. It is ironic but true that the closer the church gets to the coming of Jesus for His bride, the church, the less people there are who are interested in the Second Coming (2 Peter 3:1-7).
When Australia is plagued by fires that destroy millions of acres, kill an estimated billion animals, and significantly change the very ecology of the continent, we can say, “This is not normal!”
When a plague of locusts is devouring crops in the Horn of Africa as well as other countries in the Mideast; when China is considering sending 100,000 ducks to Pakistan to combat the locusts and their devastation, we can say, “This is not normal!”
When Sweden, as an example of many countries, reports a 1,700% increase of girls 13-17 declaring gender dysphoria and seeking hormones and gender change surgery, we can say, “This is not normal!”
As the USA withdraws from the Syria conflict and cedes the region to the dominance of Russia, Iran, and an increasingly aggressive Turkey, we can say, “This is not normal!”
When 900,000 Syrians from the city of Idlib since December are forced into winter rains in flooded fields without clothing, food, or shelter; when they are bombed, children are dying from exposure, and it is called the largest humanitarian crisis in the 21st Century; when no one responds as Syria, Iran, and Russian forces attack from one side, and Turkish forces push in from the other side, we can say, “This is not normal!”
When whole Christian villages are burned and people slaughtered by the Boko Horan in Nigeria, in an effort of genocide of Christians, and no one rises up to stop it, we can say, “This is not normal!”
When a virus from China shuts down cities of millions, shuts down major cities in South Korea, leads to Japanese children being withheld from school for a month, isolates twelve cities in Northern Italy, causes interruption of a vastly integrated global market, leads to a major stock market fall; when there are major of concerns as to what more is coming, and it is described by some as a ploy by Democrats to somehow defeat Trump, we can say, “This is not normal!”
When Great Britain has suffered unprecedented weather “bombs” that have led to major flooding, we can say, “This is not normal!”
When media-identified “evangelical leaders” gather around President Trump to declare him God’s anointed to make America great, and to stand against the forces of evil, and to pray protection for him; when he then goes to rallies and casually blasphemes in God’s name and reportedly likes it when media describes his rough language as if it defines his image, which it does, we can say, “This is not normal!”
All of this and more is exactly as Jesus prophesied it would be just before His coming for the church and the beginning of the seven years of the Great Tribulation. He said it will be as if earth was in birth pangs, as the frequency and intensity of cataclysmic events increases (Matthew 24:7-8). The rising persecution of the church in China, India, Nigeria, and many other places is as Jesus prophesied (Matthew 24:9-13). The tremendous harvest of souls in the midst of all this is the moving of God to fulfill the promise that the Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached to all nations, and then the end comes (Matthew 24:14). The tremendous apostasy of the Church in which many have rejected the authority of Scripture, changed the very meaning of the Atonement, and have all but given over to the LGBTQ movement as if that somehow is love.
The call of Jesus to His remnant church is simple. Declare the Gospel to all nations in a massive harvest, for the night is coming in which the church’s work is done (Matthew 28:18-20, John 9:4-5). We must stand firm for the faith once for all delivered to the saints, unchanging and not to be redefined (Jude 3). We are to pay attention and preach the Word of God as the only light we have in this dark world (2 Peter 1:19, 2 Timothy 4:1-5). We are to keep our love for Jesus at a fever pitch, even as the love of Jesus of others grows cold, as the love of sin increases (Matthew 24:13). We are to be willing to stand for Jesus even as it means persecution, imprisonment, death (Revelation 12:11). We are not to neglect our gathering for church, but are to encourage one another as we see His coming approach (Hebrews 10:23-25). We are to watch and pray for our own souls and for others that we may be found faithful for Jesus when so many will fade away (Luke 21:36). We are not to give in to anxiety and fear, but are to look up, for the promised coming of Jesus is so soon (Luke 21:28). We are to continue to love even those who would make us enemies, for our love is commanded and is the power of our witness for Jesus (John 13:34-35). We are to join with creation, with the saints already in heaven, and with the saints on earth to pray passionately, “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).