“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened” (Matthew 24:22).
Being short causes mixed emotions. Not being short of stature, but having only a short time before being rotated from a dangerous place back to the States.
Often, such people feel pulled in two directions: excited to think about going home, but worried that something bad might happen before then. Many become superstitious, not willing to even talk about it lest they jinx themselves. They tend to spend those last days worried about what might happen—because they know bad things can happen.
They wish their time in the distant and dangerous place would be cut short.
When we stop to think about it, the Bible tells us that the life of a Christian on this planet is similar. We are away from our heavenly home. We are in enemy territory. This is a dangerous place. We can spot some of the threats, but the deadliest of our enemies are invisible.
The danger is not just that we might lose our earthly life with its disappointments and dangers, but our eternal life with its joys and glory.
The fellow had just retired. He was looking forward to those golden years. Then, one day he walked out of a doctor’s office with the news he had only months to live. His expected time on earth had been cut short.
While he was a Christian, and knew that he would be transitioning to the ideal PCS (permanent change of station), he was not filled with excitement. In fact, there was a fair amount of dread in his heart. He had difficulty wrapping his head around the fact that he was now short.
If we ask, “Who decided this?”, all the evidence points back to the Lord. This child of God would not live one second beyond the time his Creator has chosen, nor die one spilt-second before the time his Redeemer had planned for him.
We can either blame God for determining our lifespan, or we can thank him. Better to thank him.
The Bible informs us that not only does the Lord God know how long our deployment on planet earth will last, he also knows how long earth will last—because he controls it.
Jesus told his disciples that the date for the destruction of this universe (we might call it, D-Day) has been moved up. Everything and everyone this side of heaven, is now short.
This is not punishment. This was done, not in anger, but in love. When God cuts short the lifetime of one who loves him, or the existence of the entire universe, he acts out of mercy.
He has told us what those last days will be like: “wars and rumors of wars; famines and earthquakes; people of God hated by all nations; false prophets deceiving many; love of most growing cold; and the gospel preached in the whole world.” (cf. Mark 13)
Someone might argue that life on this planet has been this way for a long, long time. That’s true. Christians were warned many centuries ago that the signs of the end could be seen—and it did not happen then.
But the condition of the world has only grown worse. It will become so bad that God will need to step in to stop it.
It’s a wonderful thing that the Maker and Redeemer of the world has the power to shorten time!
It takes the worry out of being short.
We pray: Lord of our life and God of our salvation, it is good to be reminded that time is in your hands. Guide and guard us as we walk the pathways of our lifetime. Uphold and uplift us as our short time on this planet grows shorter still. Amen.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Cape Coral, Florida Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military