“Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” (1 Thess. 4:18) These are the words spoken to anxious, nervous people, people who are afraid, we do not try to assist people in feeling comfortable unless they are afraid of something.
Part of the reasoning that surrounds these passages is the fear, or perhaps better yet, the anticipation of fear that was surrounding those new believers in Christ, times were difficult to say the least, persecutions had arrived, for new religious beliefs are rarely readily accepted by the populace. It seemed a good way out of their troubles, just disappear into the clouds. Want to guess how many times in history these thoughts have come into the minds of those who have been born-again, can you say nearly every time that there are trials and tribulations?
Look around you today, is it “bad” enough yet, have you seen and perhaps even witnessed enough signs to determine that today is the day, or at least it should be?
That is the problem, so to speak, and in a sense no blame can be placed upon those that think in this manner, for no one desires pain and suffering, but is that the right desire for being with the Lord Jesus. Running away is not to be the way of a follower of Christ, we are to follow where He leads us, whether it be beside the still waters, or into the fires of trouble, we are to obey in love, for the glory of God. What we want is immaterial, “Thy will be done” is to be our answer, no matter the circumstances.
To be crucified with Christ, and to serve in selfless humility is to be our path, two things that not only those who have taken “but unto all them also that love his appearing,” (2 Tim. 4:8) past the point intended, but many of those who claim Christ as Lord have either forgotten or neglected, the fear of the times, even when they are not at their own doorstep, have taken away much if not most of their joy of service to the Lord.
The fear that pervaded the time of those that Paul was writing to about the rapture is encompassing once again the thoughts of those who have been born-again in our day. Are we closer, of course, “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” (Romans 13:11) Are the times sure, yes, I believe so, and so then, what are we to do? Comfort each other and then get back to work.
These days, as those days were, are like a pesky fly that will not leave you alone, we swat at it to try to make it go away, we get back to work, and it just keeps bothering us, doing its best to keep our thoughts off of the tasks that the Lord has placed before us. These are the diversions of Satan, intermingled with the signs, if you please, that the Lord God is placing in front of all to see, we just happen to be the only ones blessed with eyes to see in these days. It has of course to a degree modified the work before us, for these signs are showing the imminency of the Lord’s return, but if you have been reaching out to the lost, encouraging your brothers and sisters in Christ, reproving and correcting when necessary, since the day He called you, then nothing has really changed lately, has it?
The work is before us, it always has been, if you have not been warning all who will listen of these approaching days long before they became even more evident, then you have not been fulfilling your task. Perhaps these days have been the necessary catalyst for you to begin doing so, and will assist you in finding once again the joy in serving the Lord, no matter the circumstances that surround you.