Beware and Trust

In an instant, documents are signed six thousand miles away, and suddenly you have no job.  In an instant the walls rattle, the floors rumble, ceilings crack, and you have no home.  In an instand the lights flicker, the signals weaken, the screens go blank, and you have no connections.  In an instant a door slams, a voice shouts, a car screeches, and you have no one.  In an instant the dam breaks, the fire blazes, the winds ravage, and ....and what?

 

What is the world coming to?  Shadowing every calamity circling the grounds of every collapse, chasing every human tragedy, prophets and pundits are sure to announce that all is lost.  They are eager to foretell all futures eroded, ready to broadcast that all hope is dead, all tomorrows canceled, all creation buried.  But beware!

"Beware" hardly has the lilting tone of a glad good-news bell.  "Beware" bites at our ears and strikes our heartbeat like the cold peal of a brass tongue slapping against a pitted funeral bell.  "Beware" is the screech of the siren, the shout before battle, the shudder at the edge of lonely nightfall.  "Beware" scarcely sounds like gospel, but it is the exact gospel word Jesus chooses to post like an iron stanchion into bedrock in the midst of uncertain and frightening times.  Pay attention; listen closely to Jesus' "beware"."  It is not beware of wars and rising nations, plagues and earthquakes, arrests and persecutions.  Jesus instead cautions; beware of those prophets and pundits, of their timetables of destruction, their signs of the end, and their oracles of despair.  Beware of them.  The world may tremble fiercely, you may be hated  unjustly, you may know betrayal painfully, yet with the strength of iron in bedrock and the sound of the gospel bell ringing, Jesus encourages us:  "Beware . . . . do not be terrified" (Luke 21: 8-9).