We Must Remain Vigilant

I read a true story about life in Beirut, Lebanon during the civil war that tore that country apart from 1975 until 1990. The story went like this: a lady of some means had invited guests to her apartment for dinner one evening. Her apartment was near what was called the green line. The green line was the dividing line between the different factions fighting in Beirut. The location of her apartment meant that her apartment could be hit by rockets launched during the fighting, and the shock waves from surrounding explosions could be felt. As the guests gathered in the dining room, she posed the ironic question to her guests, “Do you want to dine before or after the shelling?”

To me, this is a startling example of how societies and individuals carry on with life under the most trying conditions.

Another example of this was related to me by a friend who was a teenager living in Beirut during that war. He is an American. He told me that when his brother and he would be coming home at night after being out with friends, they would hear the rockets coming. They would have to rush to a doorway or stand under a stairway along the street to take shelter. I asked him why they would be out in the streets under such conditions. He replied, “We wanted to go out with girls.”

Such accounts make you consider Christ’s admonition to watch and not be ignorant of the times we live in. They reveal how people will be striving to maintain normalcy in their lives even as the sure signs of Christ’s return multiply. He warns us that society will be attempting to hold on to their usual pattern of life while ignoring the extreme seriousness of what is taking place around them.

Matthew 24:36-39 tells us: “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

It is not wrong for God’s people to attend to their normal activities while we watch and wait. Our young people need to educate themselves, marry, etc. At this fall Feast of Tabernacles we will have the largest number of infants for the Blessing of Children ceremony I have ever seen. That’s a wonderful blessing to all of us in the Church. But God does warn us not to take our eye off the goal of being in His Kingdom by succumbing to the temptation to wrap ourselves up in our day-to-day affairs. We must continue to watch world events and stay abreast of what is happening all around us. Like any society or nation that is about to meet with great catastrophe, we must remain vigilant. We do know what is coming.

Luke 21:34-36 warns: “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the son of Man.”

David O’Malley