Life happens in Real-Time.
I enjoy watching those video clips that show things happening in slow motion (slo-mo). You know, accidents, destruction sequences, path of projectiles as they tear through things… You get a sense of the power of an action when you actually see the event unfold as slower speed than you can imagine.
Yet, life doesn’t happen in slow motion. It happens quickly. It’s not a slo-mo version where you can see what’s about to happen and change your response accordingly. No. Life is Real-Time. And much of it goes by you at lightening speed. From nowhere, to, “Wow, where did that come from?”
On the political front we have seen the rapid transition of many laws, opinions, viewpoints and acceptance of things that would have been an anathema just a few short years ago, or even at the beginning of this year. We see the dismantling of public figures as their sordid past is revealed in the media. At the same time we see the change of laws that make this a weirder place than we ever thought possible.
It’s almost as if these things have happened Suddenly… Hindsight reveals the sequences of things as they occurred in history that brings us to the point of the present moment. Seldom do things happen suddenly, rather, they have been building up to the moment we experience. Only, we were not aware.
Or, we have fought against and lost the battle.
Even the Apostle Paul speaks to things that will come upon us suddenly. In his letter to Thessaloniki, he warns of destruction coming suddenly, even as those who know describe Peace and Safety.
I remember, as a kid of the 60’s, the practice of fire alarms, and the fear of the “bomb” being dropped. The only things we were trained to do was to file out of the building in a single file and march out to a gathering place (for a fire), or drop under our desk and huddle against the big boom that was sure to come. There was seldom any time to do anything but react as if we were on fire ourselves, you know – “Stop. Drop. Roll.”
It never happened, but we trained for it.
Paul, however, gives us the ability to sense that we do not have to be caught unaware.
“Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-8 ESV)
If we are not children of the night and darkness, then surely these things will not surprise us as much. Here’s the rub: We often turn our attention to the darkness as an appealing place… Even like an ostrich, we want to hide our heads in the sand. A place where we do not have to watch. Pray. Be sober. And using our protection as Paul described.
No, too often we just want it to happen and not even be aware of the events leading up to the destruction. Even Jesus teaches us to keep our eyes open on the events and to not be fearful as they occur, because occur they must!
“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.” (Matthew 24:6 ESV)
Take a few moments and heed the warnings of Paul, and Jesus. Read these verses in light of what is happening RIGHT NOW… These things must happen. Scripture says it will get worse before it gets better.