Sudden Things

 

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
<i>But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.</i>

Paul wrote to the Thessalonians to encourage them. The day of the Lord will come on suddenly and catch many unprepared. Not so with the believers he was writing to. It should be so with us as well.

It’s those sudden things here on Earth in the here and now that catch us off guard.

For my family the events of this past week were colored by the death of a young lady who was like a little sister to our two children. Mary B. was 18. We’ve known her family since she was a little girl. She was an only child.

A week ago Friday morning she suffered severe head injuries from a one car accident on a rural road. She died the next afternoon from the head trauma. If she had lived, she would never have been the same sparkling personality we knew and loved, due to the extent of her brain injuries.

I shared this with e-mail subscribers who follow me on another site. I said, “If prayer is part of your lifestyle, please say a prayer for [Mary’s] parents. They need the comfort and strength only God can give.” Three people took the time to write me to say they were praying. I’m grateful and humbled by that. We believers can have a bond like no one else can have.

I told my wife I expected a lot of people at Mary’s funeral. But there were more than I could have guessed. The church was packed. They had to put chairs in the aisles to accommodate everyone. It was amazing. However, I suspect that night was a lonely one for her parents after everything was over.

I appreciated words spoken by the family’s pastor who conducted the funeral service. He stated often that Mary’s death is something we don’t understand. He also said it isn’t fair. And it isn’t. No question about it. It doesn’t seem right that god would have permitted it.

One thing I’m confident in is the fact that God is there, no matter what. When unfair things happen that we don’t understand, He wants us to talk to Him about it. No matter what we have to say, He’s big enough to take it.

He’s also the one who gives us the comfort, strength and grace to carry on. I couldn’t make it through life without Him being there, come what may.

Mary’s funeral service revealed something about her I wouldn’t have guessed. Though she received Christ at an early age, I didn’t know about the godly influence she had on others. I saw her as self assured, spunky and unpredictable.

Her youth pastor said she always had a list of prayer requests at youth meetings. At a meeting just days before her death, when he asked if she had prayer requests, she said she had none. Everything on her list had been checked off.

How amazing is that?

But back to those sudden things that trip us up.

It’s those sudden things in life that have the greatest impact. Mary’s car crash. Two children electricuted in an accident at the Lake of the Ozarks on the 4th of July. Homes destroyed in minutes by fires in Colorado. Powerful storms that knocked out electricity for millions who’ve suffered in the heat for days on end.

You can fill in the blanks with more life changing sudden events, I’m sure. Sometimes the consequences are temporary. Other times they’re permanent.

Like death, which leaves such a gaping vacuum.

James Talmage Stevens, aka Doctor Prepper, has talked about such things many times. It’s these kinds of events in our lives which aren’t the end of the world for everyone. But for those immediately affected, it’s the end of the world as we’ve known it.

I encourage you to be prepared psychologically and spiritually. It’s the sudden things that change things in a very personal way–in this present life and beyond.

Obviously, you and I can’t know when something sudden will affect us. So I leave you with sobering questions to ponder.

Do you have the assurance and confidence Paul wrote of to his Thessalonian readers? Are you prepared to face eternity?

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