Today marks the end… of the end of the world. Every time a date comes and goes without an apocalypse, rapture, or cataclysm, the world becomes numb to the possibility of the real thing. Apocalypse? What apocalypse?
The end will certainly come, but the Gospel of Christ doesn’t “need” an end to the world, because it’s built on the fact that the most terrifying apocalypses will always be personal. No matter what happens to the cosmos, I will face the end of my world one day, most certainly within my lifetime. Probably several times over, in fact—in the form of cancer, the death of a parent or loved one, financial ruin, or all of the above. My question isn’t, are we prepared for tidal waves and solar flares. My question is, are we prepared for personal apocalypses?
And one day, your body will give out and you will die.
Are you prepared for that?
Yesterday I sat with a dear friend on what will probably become his deathbed. He’s suffering terribly from a vicious lung cancer, and every time I visit him it looks like he’s shed another ten pounds. This time his face was sunken, his temples concave, his skin waxy and transparent. He was a living, breathing skeleton painted with bruises and scabs. “It’s agonizing,” he admitted as I held his hand.
My heart ached for this precious soul who’s body has been reduced to nothing, his world shrunken to the size of his hospital room, his options nil.
And yet he was glowing. Glowing! As we spoke, he would glide from talking to me to talking to Jesus back to me again without the slightest awkwardness. He spoke of God as “the third person in the room,” as real as he and I were. Through thinly won breaths, shrivelled in his suffering, he prayed for me then, for his dear wife, for our church. It’s obvious the veil between here and heaven is dissolving before his eyes, and he’s ready to go.
“I want to go home,” he said.
He can say that because he’s given his heart to Jesus Christ, trusting him for salvation and everything else.
The Bible says, “we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (II Corinthians 4:16,17) Yesterday, I saw this truth. Glory is beginning to seep through my friend’s pores, radiating from the frail mess of his mortality.
My question for you today isn’t, “Are you ready for the apocalypse?” It’s, “Are you ready for your own?”
My prayer can be yours, if you’d like:
Jesus, I believe you are God in the flesh—my only hope of eternal life both now and forever. Thank you for dying on that cross two thousand years ago to make a way for me to know you personally. Please forgive me for my mess of a life and give me a new start by taking over from here on out. Thank you for rescuing me, for filling me with yourself, and that I can spend the rest of my life and eternity getting to know you better. Thank you that no matter what happens next, you’ve got me in your hands. Amen.
If you resonate with this prayer, comment below! If you prayed it with me for the first time, please let me know.