Thursday, July 10, 2014

Birth Pangs

As Jesus came out of the temple and was going away, his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. Then he asked them, ‘You see all these, do you not? Truly I tell you, not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.’
 When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?’ Jesus answered them, ‘Beware that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, “I am the Messiah!” and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places: all this is but the beginning of the birth pangs.
 ‘Then they will hand you over to be tortured and will put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of my name. Then many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold. But anyone who endures to the end will be saved. And this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come.Matthew 24:1-14

Sometimes the events of our lives overwhelm us and it can feel as if the world is coming apart or to an end. I have always loved the story of Chicken Little, who believed the sky was falling. That little chicken had a very limited view of the world so it truly seemed as if the his world was coming to an end. And yet, with the help of friends, he found out there was more. And even in these challenging, overwhelming days, it is helpful to be surrounded by those who can remind us that there is more blessing on the way, despite the darkness and the gloom.

The disciples become very anxious about the end times, and all that Jesus is talking about. They're scared. They want comfort and reassurance. They do not want their way of life to change. And yet, their way of life, which had become familiar, was always temporary. We are encouraged today to find the challenges and changes that uproot and terrify us, as birth pangs - the promise of new life. New life always comes with pain. New stars are born in collision and confusion. God asks us to trust beyond the frightening moments of today and expect new life beyond our imagining.

Today I ask God to help me trust beyond the present circumstances and live into this new life. May we let go and let God find a path we haven't seen, a hidden star to guide us, and a community to surround us as we move forward.

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