Just outside of town is billboard that declares “Judgment Day, May 21 . . . Cry mightily unto God.” It even has a seal stuck in the upper right-hand corner that declares, “The Bible Guarantees It.” So says Howard Camping of Oakland, California. He’s real sure . . . but, more than a decade ago, he was real sure that 1994 was the date. As I was working on Sunday’s sermon, my email server beeped, alerting me to the arrival of an email. Knowing that all emails are important, I flipped over and almost flipped out. The subject line read: “ENDS TOMORROW!” And I thought I had until May 21!
Tornadoes ripping through the south have left behind shattered homes and death. Floods along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and all their smaller tributaries are inundating farmland, towns, and cities. No one seems immune to the disasters. There are folks in my town who are sure that what we have before us are signs of the end. Maybe the maker of the billboard message has the inside track on apocalyptic news.
“The signs are everywhere,” a dear faithful saint said to me on Wednesday. Ah, so they are! So they are . . . and ever have been and ever shall be as long as time remains. Maybe it will be today . . . tomorrow . . . May 21, 2011 . . . or maybe a few eons into the future. In the meantime, I’m not going to liquidate my assets and take that splurge I’ve been dreaming about; nor am I going to liquidate and give it all to charity in one last-ditch effort to impress the Judge.
What I’m going to do is keep on living one day at a time with an eye toward tomorrow. I keep an eye toward tomorrow because, while I’m not to worry about tomorrow according to Jesus, I should be prepared for it.
Judgment Day! I’m so glad that I am not in charge of the when, what, and how. I’m also glad it’s one of those things about which Jesus stated we should not worry. I do confess to worrying about some things—I know I shouldn’t but, some days I just can’t help it. I don’t worry about Judgment Day.
I have an advocate, the Lawyer of lawyers, who pleads my case. What’s more, He is more than the Advocate before the bench. He is the Advocate who comes alongside me (and you) to guide my steps and to comfort me when the path is difficult . . . as when floods and winds overwhelm, including the floods and winds of life that have nothing to do with raging waters and shattered homes.
His name is Jesus and he is Lord and Christ. I’ve got more faith in him than in Howard Camping and the countless other false prophets among us.
By the way, that email subject line (ENDS TOMORROW) was in reference to a sale on Cole Haan handbags. Sorry, by the time you read this the sale will be over . . . you missed the boat . . . you will have to pay full price. Given the price of Cole Haan handbags, that’s scary!
Given the price of life, living without faith in the One who is both Lord and Christ is also scary.