When you see ‘the abomination that causes desolation’ standing where it does not belong—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let no one on the housetop go down or enter the house to take anything out. Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again. Mark 13, verses 14-19.
Yes, these words are still talking about the end times. Yes the ‘abomination that causes desolation’ is a reference to the Antichrist, whoever he will be. Yes, people can flee but there’s really no place safe to go…
…And then just hold on to that thought.
If there’s no place to flee, then there’s no place where God can’t find us. Think about it: God will allow all this calamity, hurt, chaos and, yes, death, to happen so that His glory might be spread out further amidst the world. When it happens, there will be no place to flee, no place where we can hide from it. Yet the miraculous, crazy thing is that, if there’s no place we can’t hide from the persecution, then there’s also no place where God can’t reach us. The very last thing Jesus said when He ascended to Heaven is “I am with you always even unto the end of the age.” “I am with you always.” Always. Always means all the time everywhere.
As bad as it will get – as bad as it can be – He will still be with us in person and Spirit. Always.
I don’t know what the abomination that causes desolation will look like; none of us does. It will probably be worse that Washington DC with a pot of money, or Bruce Jenner in an identity crisis. Our world focuses on the trivial when the Creator of the Universe speaks in ways to prepare us to live in serious times. It’s true how it seems that our generation is seeing terrible times and terrible things that couldn’t seem to be worse, at least not in how we conceive of them. I’m sure those who lived through the world wars, or the Black Plague, or the fall of Rome, or the fall of Jerusalem (that was only a generation away when Jesus spoke these words) thought the same.
The goofy thing is that they were right. So are we. God tells us that we should be prepared for Him to come back right now. That things can go bad in an instant right here, right now. “Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak.” Isn’t that apropos for us as well even if we aren’t living through the end of the world? God can call us home today. Jesus says “be ready now. I am coming soon” even when we don’t know how long “soon” may be.
Yet whether it is tonight, tomorrow, or in another two thousand years, “soon” will be just the right time. The days leading up to it will be tough; putting it mildly, they’ll suck. And even in the worst of them God will be with us, Jesus will be with us, His Spirit will be in and working through us. That’s not so tough to understand.
Lord, I pray: abide with me always.
Read Mark 13, verses 1-31.