Jump Start # 2470
1 Thessalonians 5:3 “While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”
Our verse today describes the sudden wrath that will fall upon those who are not prepared. Some believe this is referring to the destruction of Jerusalem. Others lean toward the coming of Jesus. Suddenly, implies quickness and often catching one off guard and unprepared. The illustration is of a woman going into labor. It can literally happen anywhere and at anytime. The verse before, uses the illustration of a thief in the night. If you knew when the thief was coming, you’d have a welcoming party that included the police to greet him. But, as it is, you don’t know.
Throughout the Bible this principle of being prepared and not being caught off guard is emphasized. The foolish virgins in the Lord’s parable in Matthew 25, had oil. They did not expect the groom to be delayed. They ran out. They went to get more and he came and they missed out. Life was going on smoothly in the days of Noah when suddenly, it started to rain. Folks were getting married. Now, who would get married if you thought the world was about to end. They were caught unprepared.
There are a lot of events in life that come suddenly and unannounced. It’s not like preparing for a wedding or retirement or even the holidays, when we know what day the event will be on and we are just counting down the days. Suddenly is something that catches us off guard. Had we known, we would have been better prepared. But that’s the point of suddenly, you don’t know.
You hop in your car in the morning to go to work. Just another typical day. But SUDDENLY, a car pulls out in front of you and you have a wreck. Your day now changes. You’re in your garage, putting something together. All is going smoothly, until something SUDDENLY happens and now you are on the way to the urgent care to get stitches in your hand. You sure didn’t see that coming. Or, in the middle of the night, one of the kids starts throwing up in his bed. That always happens in the middle of the night, for some reason. Now, your day has changed. A phone call and someone in the family has passed away. You must reschedule your world so you can attend the funeral. It came SUDDENLY.
Often, these SUDDENLY events come with costs. Car repairs. Doctor visits. Furnace goes out. And, that can be another layer of stress and problems. Had you known this was coming then you would have stuck some money away and been ready. But you didn’t know. Not only do you have to deal with this sudden emergency, but now you have to figure out how to pay for it.
There are some sudden events that can happen to us.
Suddenly, you can be cast into eternity. Death doesn’t always come slowly. Music doesn’t play in the background like in the movies. Sometimes, in an instant, just like that, death can take a life. It can happen at any age, at any place. People have died at theme parks. People have died in bed. People have died on airplanes. People have died in church. The Lord died slowly. John the baptist died quickly.
Suddenly, you can be put in an awkward situation by someone blaming you, accusing you, or trying to hurt your reputation. In just an instant, people can blow up and shout all kinds of untrue and unfair statements about you. Put on the spot, all eyes looking at you, it’s a very uncomfortable place to be.
Suddenly, you are standing at the crossroads of right and wrong. That’s what temptation does to us. Often, it’s not long and drawn out and well thought out. An image flashes before our eyes. Now, in an instant, what do we do with that? It could be on TV. It could be on a billboard or a magazine cover in the grocery store. It could be the way a person is dressed as they walk by you. Immodest. Indecent. David saw Bathsheba bathing. It just happened. Suddenly. There a person must decide, just like that, to linger, dwell and store those images in his mind, or to look the other way and think pure thoughts. Temptation puts us at the crossroads of a decision. You must decide and you must decide right now.
All of this comes back to knowing who we are and being prepared. The guy who has an emergency fund saved up at home won’t be crushed when his furnace goes out. The woman who has her bags backed and is ready to head to the hospital won’t be in a panic when her labor starts. And, the disciple who knows that he wants to spend eternity with the Lord, is prepared. He knows to walk daily with the Lord. He knows each day could be his last day. He knows how important it is to express his love to his family and to make it his ambition to please the Lord. Temptation will come, but so will the answers as to what he ought to do. His heart is filled with the word of God. People may put him in a corner, but he knows how to be respectful even when attacked. And, when death comes, he doesn’t fear. He’s longed for that day to be with the Lord.
Suddenly—it’s not so bad when one is prepared.