How it Sounds to a Child
Someday there are going to be laws that make us either: 1) go to church on Sunday or 2) work on Sabbath. They’ll try to put chips in our arm to take our attendance at church on Sunday, or work on Saturday. If we refuse to do these things we will be thrown in jail, have our assets seized, be burned at the stake (or some other form of martyrdom that we’ve read about in books), or have to flee to the mountains and remain in hiding. No, we cannot bring our non Adventist friends with us (so what’s the point in making any). No, there is nothing we can do about this so there’s no point in voting. No, we won’t be able to keep our Bibles, so we need to memorize it all or sew it into our clothing. No, you won’t be able to eat McDonald’s or watch TV, so you may starve or die of boredom. Most likely you’ll be living in a cave, so you need to learn how to make your own clothes, grow your own food, and memorize the poisonous/edible plants in your area. It’s probably best if you aren’t a child (!), pregnant with a child, or traveling with small children during this time. Oh, yeah, and this “time of trouble” will definitely happen in your lifetime!
When I was a child, what set the Adventist church apart from the churches of my friends and other churches in the community was this “time of trouble”, and mostly it scared me to death! As a young Seventh-day Adventist Christian, I was pretty scared of what would come to pass as time would wind down to Christ’s return.
When the adults around me would say things like, “You’re lucky that this might happen in your lifetime.” A feeling of cold dread collected in my chest. I wanted to grow up and have kids. I wanted time to raise them. I wanted to fall in love, work in a career I loved, and travel the world. I really just wanted to be a kid and not think about anything other than this earth, all the while thinking of this big thing that hung over my life. The return of Christ had been clouded by something perverted and ugly in my young mind. I dwelled on Matthew 24:21 instead of celebrated the truth of Matthew 24:29-31.
When I was about 13 years old, I read through Revelation, keeping a journal. I would sketch out drawings of the beasts, write out timelines, prayers, questions. I thought this would help me understand, but it didn’t.
When I was old enough to begin attending prophecy seminars I sat through every session of every meeting that our church put on. I can specifically remember attending seven prophecy meetings in my young years. I remember taking notes, looking up the verses, participating in prayers, and yet I was more scared than anything. Why did all these adults join the church after seeing this information? Weren’t they afraid of what was to come?
Revelation Pure and Simple
It wasn’t until I was 27 years old, raising my own little Adventists that I got a better understanding of the end times and “time of trouble”. When I moved to Casper the prayer meeting group was reading a book by Kenneth Cox called Revelation Pure and Simple. As a fourth-generation-Adventist you’d think I would be well-versed in end-time events. But I had little experience with Ellen White and the Spirit of Prophecy, so some of the things I read in that book blew my mind!
The way that the final events work in favor of God’s people, and compile on one another to propel us through the “time of trouble” gives me hope for the last days.
From Fear to Faith
My entire Christian life I have been overlooking one of the most exciting pieces of history to come, because I was too afraid to think about it. Upon further prayer and study I realize that God protects His people now, and He will not fail to do so during the “time of trouble”. If nothing else, He will protect us more.
At this point we will have stood by God in faith through earth’s deterioration, economic collapse, and environmental upheavals. God’s people exist in all generations from Moses’ time to ours. So, what translation of the Bible wrongly tells us that we’re not going to be under the wings of our Father in the “time of trouble”?
What to Do?
As a child, I was told all the important things about God and the Bible, but I’m afraid my young mind clung to the thing that I feared most. The fact is that the “time of trouble” will be a hard time. We may be separated from friends, family, neighbors.
We may run from the only homes we’ve known, and people we love may be to blame.
While preparing for this time is important, it definitely shouldn’t take up too much of our attention. Instead of preparing and worrying about the workings of tomorrow, we should instead tell as many people as we can about Jesus so that they too can be protected in the end. After all, we can plan and prepare all we can, but the true protection will be God’s angels shielding us. Our human frailties are made strong in Jesus. This is what I should have focused on as a child–that only Jesus can protect me.
Let your hope rest in Him.