1 Peter 4:7-9(NLT) “The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.”

Do you ever wonder what the end of the world is going to be like? Sometimes a really wild sunset or clouds hovering over our city makes me think about that day. I wonder if the sky will light up when Jesus returns or if He will show up in only one place, and people will be streaming it live from their phones.

Of course, there is no way to know. People who have claimed to know have only ended up looking like fools. Even Peter didn’t know when Jesus would return, but he did believe it would be soon. I guess soon is relative. Many of the early followers of Jesus lived believing that Jesus would return during their lifetime. They woke up every day wondering if today would be the day.

To be honest, we don’t live with that kind of awareness of the end times. True, there are some who spend their whole lives studying the book of Revelation and watching YouTube videos trying to figure out how it’s all going to play out. For the rest of us, it’s easy to get pulled into the busyness of taking kids’ to their sports’ practice, studying for finals, getting to work on time, saving for kids college, and paying our bills.

COVID-19 reminded us that we are not in control and that death is coming for each one of us. As I write this, 500,000 people have lost their lives to the virus. That’s a whole lot of people who 12 months ago weren’t thinking their life would be over by the summer of 2020.

At some point we all will die. At some point this world as we know it will end.

These three verses would have been helpful to memorize on the front end of shelter in place. The end of the world is one of those huge things completely outside of our control.

Every day, regardless of my circumstances, I can pray and ask God to move in and through my life. When things are uncertain, I can still choose to show deep love for those around me. I’ve been blown away watching our church and other Bay Area churches love on each other during this time. I’ve been a part of several “Drive-By Birthday Parades” during Shelter in Place.

For several of them, Stacie stocked up on confetti poppers and silly string. As I drive up we have one Wood kid standing through the sunroof, another peeking out of the trunk, and the other two of the fab five hanging out of the side, spraying confetti and silly string all over our dear friends.

Stacie and I have both journaled during this time. Many prayers asking God to move and change lives. Asking God to provide supernaturally for our church and the people we love. So many other prayers. Many He’s answered; some are still in progress.

One aspect of this verse makes me realize something I miss greatly. I miss being able to cheerfully share our home with others. By the time you read this, it’s possible that we will be having cookouts and enjoying the company of others—perhaps with continued social distancing.

Regardless, we can live today in light of His return and the end of this world.

If you want to show your deep love for others, you might need to pull some of them close and love on them. Others you might need to pray for. To accomplish these acts of love, we may need to drown out some of the noise in our life—with discipline and an earnest pursuit of God’s heart. Let’s be the kind of people who don’t allow the uncertainty of our future to make us flounder in confusion or boredom. We are people of purpose. We are men and women, teenagers, students, people who have been called by God in exile to live faithful and holy lives.

Before you wrap up your time today, will you take time to pray? Slip to your knees. Express your needs to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill your heart with the Father’s love. Ask Him to show you what He wants you to pray for. Pull out a pad of paper, and write down the names of some people you can love this week. Fix your eyes on His return, and let it fuel your faithful life.

In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

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