21:5 When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said,
21:6 “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”
21:7 They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?”
21:8 And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them.
21:9 “When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.”
21:10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom;
21:11 there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and plagues; and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.
21:12 “But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name.
21:13 This will give you an opportunity to testify.
21:14 So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance;
21:15 for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict.
21:16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death.
21:17 You will be hated by all because of my name.
21:18 But not a hair of your head will perish.
21:19 By your endurance you will gain your souls.
The trouble is, not knowing what to say, too often we say something anyway.
Source: Listening Below the Noise
I am 45. Speaking optimistically, I’m halfway through my life. This is good, because you have to grow old to know that God is faithful. You can experience God’s faithfulness in youth, but only as an abstract claim or a future guarantee. As you age, God’s promise is fulfilled. It is the long haul that reveals the joy of fidelity. Young relationships can be thrilling, but long relationships become beautiful.
The shape of God’s love changes over time. Or at least I’ve experienced it differently.
As a child God was the creator of awe. The expanse of the sky and the height of a climbing tree.
In middle school my father died. God became Christ crucified; abandoned with me in my abandonment.
In high school God was the law, corrective and protective in ways I wouldn’t let my mother be.
In the confusion of my twenties God was the Spirit, mysterious and sustaining.
When I met my wife, God was the empty tomb, bright promise and new life.
When our infant son had open-heart surgery God was the Church, carrying us.
All the while, my faith waxed and waned, went from robust to life support and back again. I assume such oscillation will continue. But looking back, I see that while my experience of God has varied greatly, God has always been there.
At 45, I’m finally able to trust God, because the years have revealed God’s faithfulness to me. I will never be abandoned. What was once a promise is now a relationship. It was one sided for years, but the relationship I have with Jesus is the longest one I’ve ever been in. He knit me together. He’s been with me every second since. All those days, all that solidity, reliability, empathy, presence and mercy. God is faithful. What was once an abstract claim has become my personal history.
It is yours as well. Or it will be. Sorry Millennials, but you have to wait. The good news is you have a wonderful gift waiting for you on the other side of forty.