Have you ever wondered why the biblical descriptions of what it is going to be like in the time immediately prior to Christ’s return are so terrible? Why is a merciful God going to allow such human suffering?
In Matthew chapter 24 Christ outlined some serious worldwide activities such as wars on a large scale, famines, pestilences, and earthquakes. All of these things we can see now, and we can also see the high levels of suffering that they are bringing. But in outlining these things, Christ then said they were only the beginning of sorrows.
Amazingly, Christ went on to equate the human frame of mind prior to His return with what people were doing and thinking prior to the flood. They will be carrying on business as usual. That mindset is demonstrated by “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage”. Activities that indicate the belief that time will go on and tomorrow will be as today.
The human mind is an incredible thing. It can be soft, malleable and capable of expressing human love, as in marriage. But it can be very hard also.
In trying to understand what appears to be an increasing social problem – psychopathy – author Robert D. Hare PhD observes: “Psychopaths have a narcissistic and grossly inflated view of their self-worth and importance, a truly astounding egocentricity and sense of entitlement, and see themselves as the center of the universe, as superior beings who are justified in living according to their own rules.” Without Conscience – The Disturbing World of The Psychopaths Among Us, pg 38. Undoubtedly this is a near-perfect paraphrase of the Apostle Paul’s description of the state of the human mind in the last days when perilous times will come (2 Timothy 3:1-9).
In writing to the Church in Rome, the Apostle Paul referred to this mind as being “impenitent” — meaning incapable of repentance. “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God” (Romans 2:5). This goes a long way in answering the question of why a merciful God will allow such human suffering. The terrible times that are prophesied to come have a great purpose. A loving and merciful God wants everyone to have a chance of being in His eternal family. In order to do that, they must come to repentance.
The hard mind has to be broken, which means that all man has put his trust in other than God has to be shown to be worthless. There is only space at the center of the universe for God Himself. The mind that puts self at the center of anything has to be reshaped. That can only happen when the hard, self-centered mind becomes penitent. “For the day of the Lord of hosts shall come upon everything proud and lofty, upon everything lifted up – and it shall be brought low … The loftiness of man shall be brought down and the haughtiness of men shall be brought low; the Lord alone will be exalted in that day” (Isaiah 2:12, 17).
Don’t despair as world conditions continue to deteriorate. God has everything under control. Instead, let us focus on the fact that we have been given the capability now to reshape our minds through the power of God’s Holy Spirit. World conditions should motivate us to be prepared.