Some personal thoughts about the economic crisis, the end of the world, and my response as a Christian believer.
I am writing this short article with a Christian Adventist audience in mind, but I hope this is relevant to non-Adventist readers as well.
I recently listened to a friend of mine, a grown man leading a successful business predict the end of this time with tremendous fear in his heart.
Our conversation about the economic downturn led him to open up with me about his imminent end-of-the-world scenario. You may know people, like my friend, who understandably feel vulnerable before events they cannot control and I encourage you to be there for them.
I took my friend’s concern very seriously, I listened carefully, and I gave him my most responsible answer. I tried to re-channel his sentiment of fear into a sentiment of hope. I believe that the mandate for the people of the advent is to share the joy and hope of Jesus coming back, not fear.
The economic downturn may cause feelings of resentment towards some distant entities that we, as individuals, have no power to control, such as political figures, Wall Street, greedy people, Banks, scammers… all these become the rationale for our feelings of disappointment, anger, and anxieties. Some people’s anxieties may be fueled by the grand-scale natural disasters we have been witnessing in recent times. Some may be overwhelmed by ideas revolving around the Mayan civilization, claiming that the world is will end in 2012…
It is important to point out that disasters and wars are not a sign that the world is coming to an end. In Matthew 24 Jesus teaches about this. He says that there will be rumors of wars, earthquakes, famines… I think if Jesus was to have a ‘Matthew 24’ type of speech today, he would list tsunamis, hurricane Katrina, the economic crisis, the earthquakes in Italy, Haiti, and Chile. Then he says: “Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.” Another way to say “The world will panic before these events, but you don’t need to. I am in control at all times, trust me.”
Jesus’ teachings about the end times were accompanied by a great dose of peace, not fear. John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me”
In the few verses following this statement, he talks about how he is preparing a home for us. Then he will return to take us home. Jesus wants us to associate the end of the world with his return, not with fear and desperation.
Trust is at the bases of Jesus’ message. He invites us to trust God and trust him, to trust the one who was daring enough to put his life on the line for the sake of a broken relationship.