Things to Come
Open Your Bible
Mark 13:1-37, Jeremiah 31:35-37, Isaiah 51:6
BY Annie Downs
Text: Mark 13:1-37, Jeremiah 31:35-37, Isaiah 51:6
There is one app I use constantly when I’m driving. And no, it’s not iMessage. (NO TEXTING AND DRIVING!) It’s a map app that updates in real time when there are accidents or other hazards on the road. It even updates for speed traps.
A few months ago, as I was driving back home to Nashville, the app sounded its alert. There had been a major accident forty or so miles ahead, meaning my trip would be extended by thirty minutes.
I appreciated the alert, but didn’t love the news.
Within a few miles, the app beeped at me again with a new route. I was supposed to get off the interstate at the next exit and weave through backwoods Tennessee for thirty miles. I’d never been that way before, and I had no idea where I was going; but the app did, and that was enough for me.
After doing the bob and weave down two-lane country roads, I began to run parallel to the interstate and could see it backed up for miles and miles. Cars were stopped dead in their lanes, and drivers were out walking among them as the highway was now completely shut down. Now traveling in a steady stream of moving cars tracing the back roads, I wondered if they all had the same app and directions as me. Soon our caravan of strangers got back on the interstate right past the overturned tractor trailer, giving us a clear path back to Nashville.
I felt sorry for the people stuck in the traffic. They had no idea what was coming when they were casually driving up I-24. And while it wouldn’t have changed the situation (that poor, unfortunate tractor trailer strewn across four lanes of traffic), it sure would have changed their response to it!
That traffic app is kind, in a weird way. It sees what I can’t see, warns me of things I want to avoid. It makes me feel safer to have the information.
Maybe that’s what Jesus was doing on the hilltop overlooking Jerusalem. He chose to protect and care for the disciples—and us—through very hard times, by warning us that they were on the way (Mark 13:5-8).
Every building will fall apart?
Wars and rumors of wars?
Kingdom against kingdom?
It sounds scary and dangerous and altogether bad. This could not have been the disciples’ favorite conversation they’d ever had with Jesus. But what might sound harsh and frightening is really an act of Jesus’ love and protection.
Do these warnings ever terrify me? WELL, SURE. But they are not meant to bring fear or worry. They are Jesus’ kindness to us. He sees what we cannot see, and sprinkles in a new set of directions throughout the text. “Be on your guard,” He tells us. “I have told you everything ahead of time” (Mark 13:23). And for that, we should be so grateful.
We can trust Jesus, no matter what is coming around the bend. We may not avoid pain and suffering along the way, but He promises we will see Him in the midst of it—because He’s already there.