“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines. These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs.” (Mark 13:7-8, NASB)
The headlines this morning are full of news of another catastrophe in an impoverished corner of the world. Every channel is teeming with grim statistics and bleak forecasts as information pours in and the death toll rises. As believers, it’s easy to become discouraged by wars, natural disasters, and the general breakdown of the world around us. It not only brings to mind how unstable life on this planet can be, but also reminds us of our
own individual frailty and mortality.
I believe the heart of God is touched by the suffering of His people, but a closer look at the verses above also provides a glimmer of hope in the midst of these dark days. During times of overwhelming disaster, Jesus tells His followers to “not be frightened.” Why? Because the pain is symptomatic of something positive on the horizon. The groaning and travails of this old world are signs of a new world crowning - the ‘birth pangs’ of the Kingdom of God.
And so we can look past today’s headlines with hope, and say with the Apostle Paul, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18, NASB)