One reason I love the Bible is because of how bluntly honest it is. If you were making up a religion you’d never think to put in the quirks and idiosyncrasies we read in it.
And one of my favorite awkward passages happens right after Jesus’ last moments on earth. He’d just ascended into heaven after spending 40 days teaching the disciples following his resurrection.
Right after he disappears into the sky, I imagine the angels in Acts, Chapter One snapping their fingers and flagging down the transfixed disciples…
“As they strained to see Him rising into heaven, two white-robed men suddenly stood among them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw Him go!” Acts 1:10-11
So as the disciples are staring off into space, before they can get stiff necks, two angels are basically saying, “Snap out of it! He’s gone already. But he’s coming back soon…so get to work!”
Right now a lot of us seem to be staring off into space, too. We’ve been dazed and confused by almost three months of a worldwide pandemic with accompanying lockdowns, and now on top of that weeks of racial upheaval.
Honestly, when I saw the astronauts head to outer space last Saturday from Cape Canaveral, I thought to myself, “Leaving earth, huh? Smart plan!”
But what I believe God is saying to us is, “Have I got your attention yet?”
I’ve never seen a day when things seemed to be lining up more with the conditions the Bible describes in the book of Revelation than today. The scenarios have never been more plausible than what I see happening right now.
Just anecdotally, look at the recent increase in earthquakes over the past months. In Matthew 24, Jesus mentioned how these are birth pangs signifying his soon return. If you pop over to earthquake.usgs.gov you can see for yourself the recent activity.
All the upheaval around us should be telling us the timing of Jesus’ returning is accelerating. Just as birth pangs increase in frequency and intensity, events are moving at hyper-speed now, so much so that the onslaught of new developments can make your head spin.
And we haven’t even made it to the final stretch toward the November elections—and even more conflict. Won’t that be fun? You’d better buckle up, buttercup! It’s probably not going to get any calmer any time soon.
Instead of standing around shell-shocked at the rapid change before us, I believe we believers need to start shaking ourselves out of our stupor and working like the clock’s running out…
Because it is.
We need to be working because people are more open to God in times like these. He’s gotten their attention as well as ours. But if we’re standing around with our mouths hanging open thinking only about ourselves, we’re going to miss this opportunity.
And this may be the last opportunity we get to tell someone we love just how much they need Jesus.
So stop worrying about the darkness around us. Yes, it is dark…gloriously dark! And it’s in times just like this that the darkness makes the light of Christ shine even more visibly and attractive to the lost world.
So shake yourself, and wake yourself, and then get back to work. We may be almost done now.
Any minute, that sky the disciples stared into could open up and Christ step out to call us home. But until that moment, I’m gonna stop focusing on the darkness and keep pointing people to Jesus.
Because when he comes back, I won’t need to be looking up to find him.
No, he’ll find me. And when he does, I hope he has to interrupt me right in the middle of telling someone about him. And that divine interruption is the only good reason to stop what we should be doing.
Dave Gipson is a husband, father of 4 adopted children and one biological child, former foster parent, and pastor at Naples Family Church of Naples, FL. An author, Dave's new highly acclaimed book, "The Seven Surprises: Everyday Epiphanies on Being a Better Human Being," is now available. He also contributes regular commentaries to the Naples Daily News as well as other international publications. He has served churches for the last 25+ years, from Florida to the inner-city of Chicago. Rev. Gipson holds his ordination in the Southern Baptist denomination, and has two earned Masters degrees in Religion and Divinity. Read more at http://davegipson.net.Follow him on Twitter at @realdavegipson.