What if this is as good as it gets?

I recently finished reading Anthony Beevor’s account of the WWII battle for Stalingrad. An excellent account of the horrifying destruction of a city and its people.

The siege of Stalingrad was one of the many tragedies of the 20th Century. Thankfully, both Fascism and Communism lay in ruins by the end of that century. Meanwhile others have taken their place. The same story continues with different actors playing their part.

What if this is as good as it gets?

What if wars, famine and natural disasters are the norm of human history?

Jesus thought so. That’s what he taught his disciples to expect. Right up until the end of the age, expect trouble.

When Jesus announced the arrival of the kingdom of God, he was announcing the beginning of the end times. One day he will return in glory. Until then, expect trouble. Read Mark 13 —wars, famines, natural disasters and deceptive religious movements. Expect them.

Somehow people think that because the kingdom has arrived in the person of Jesus, his death and resurrection, the world will be transformed in this age.

Instead Jesus taught his disciples to expect a battle right up until the end. He promised us hardship and persecution, not “human flourishing.”

The one thing he did promise was that repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (Luke 24:47).

In the end, God wins, but not without a costly fight.