I’m semi-plotzed, which means I’m semi-collapsed from semi-exhaustion in a semi-sturdy chair with semi-good back support. (When you’re pushing sixty you start semi-noticing these kinds of things). The temperature is mild and invigorating. It’s pre-dawn quiet. There’s a pleasant cloud cover. I’m overlooking the peaceful waters of Lake San Marcos near San Diego, California. I have no real schedule or agenda to contend with. I see the geese. I observe the swans. Softly rounded hills and stately palm trees encircle my vista from the right, left, and front. It’s easy to be content in this moment, and I am. Yet like a slow but steadily approaching train, I hear the round the bend blues chiming in the distance with increasing volume.
This encroaching sound is something significantly more than just a vague anticipation of the other proverbial shoe to inevitably drop. This is a biblical/theologically realistic fallen race in a fallen place appraisal of the hard rain that’s gonna fall before Messiah returns. It’s a reference to strange tough times, both individually and corporately; times that have always been around but are intensifying in our day and in days to come.
Even though I’m on vacation as I’m composing this post, out of habit, I still troll social media outlets for news articles that look like something worth the time and effort to read. In fact this is my present method of choice for staying somewhat informed about what’s going on in the world. I rarely do cable TV news anymore of any ideological stripe because it’s long on ratings driven video/sound bytes, and short on truly helpful content for making some sense out of current events. However, after digesting a story or two, it all becomes a bit overwhelming and I find myself disengaging and becoming desensitized to the incessant fallout from sin chronicled in real time with real people.
Currently the demonic drama that is ISIS, along with the Ebola virus, growing evangelical anti-Israel sentiment, racial unrest in Missouri, and the U.S. border crisis; are all like a massive snowball rolling down a pre-apocalyptic hill headed straight for the Seventieth Week of Daniel (Dan. 9:24-27); a period also known as the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jer. 30:7). And so today, even on its worst day, is still better than the best day of this future day. Global conditions and international events will be like nothing the world has ever seen or will ever see again (cf. Matt. 24:22). This seven year removal of present restraints will culminate in the complete uprooting and overthrowing of the present world order coupled with the full establishment of the Kingdom of God on planet earth!
However, against this future backdrop of unmitigated evil and righteous triumph, often we presently live lives of private desperation. Dreams die, relationships become utilitarian, and a mantra along the lines of “what are you going to do,” becomes an internal reflex response to disappointment and pain. And that pain is immeasurably magnified when a loved one dies in unbelief.
And yet in spite of what can feel like a surreal downward spiral that sticks to your body like a cheap suit, the reality of Yeshua’s resurrection enables the Messiah follower to be the most envied of all people instead of the most pitied of all people (cf. 1 Cor. 15:12-19). Messiah’s resurrection is the basis of the believers’ future resurrection. It means gospel preaching is not pointless, empty, and without hope. It means faith in Messiah’s person and work is not pointless, empty, and only capable of producing temporary results in this life. It means that the 1st century testimony of the apostles is true. It means believers experience deliverance from the penalty, power, and presence of sin. It means that the believer has not attached his life to fantasy but to fact. And that means that at the end of the day, this Death of Death Good News overrides the Round the Bend Blues Blues.