When I went to pick myself up out of bed this morning, pain in every part of my arms, shoulders, and lower back made me fall right back into bed. When I tried to pick myself up again, every part of my spinal chord cracked until I fell back down again.
It was going to be a long day.
After an entire day of intense skiing, I had expected to feel sore this morning. But I had not, however, expected to be unable to walk, unable to lift a cup to my lips, incapable of holding up my own head. It was quite pathetic. The exhaustion was still effecting me as well; I actually ended up staying home for part of church. I was also getting sick.
This morning when I could manage to roll myself over and pick up my Bible, I read Matthew and Isaiah chapter 24. Matthew 24, which I’ve read before, is about prophecy, describing the signs of the end of the age and of the rapture. I really like this chapter, mostly because it’s one of the passages that destroys any possibility for the Bible to be criticized for being full of vague prophecies that are easily fulfilled. Biblical prophecies are incredibly specific and are all true, most of which, excluding the prophecies of the end times, have been fulfilled. In this particular passage, Jesus is describing what will need to be fulfilled before He returns to mark the beginning of the reign of the antichrist and the time of Tribulation. “For many will come in my name, saying “I am the Christ,” and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars” (v. 5,6). This only one sign the end is coming. Now, there have been wars and rumors of wars going on forever, but they are a sign that the end of the world is coming (not meaning to sound like a crazy person, but it’s true). “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places” (v. 7). Again, nations have been against one another for a long time, and famines and earthquakes and all sorts of other natural and unnatural disasters have been affecting the world for centuries. But again, these are just the beginning.
“Then they (false prophets, rulers and authorities of the world) will deliver you (Christians/believers) up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake” (v. 9). Christians are going to be persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ. Granted, all over the world this occurs on a daily basis, but even in America, where we have a stale freedom of religion and speech (as long as we don’t “impose our beliefs on other people”), Christians will be slayed and burned and destroyed just because they stand for Jesus Christ, for God, for Truth.
The chapter goes on to describe the happenings of the Rapture, which is when Jesus will return and ‘harvest’ all of those who believe in Him on earth. They’ll just be taken from whatever they’re doing. It says “then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left” (v. 40, 41). Can you imagine working with someone and then witnessing them vanish before your eyes? Whenever I read passages like this I think of Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins’s Left Behind series, which is 16 best-selling novels all about the Rapture and the Tribulation and the antichrist, following character Buck Williams (a TV news reporter), Rayford Steele (a pilot), Chloe Steele (Ray’s daughter), Bruce Barnes (a pastor), and Nicolae Carpathia (the antichrist). While I’m not sure if that’s how it’ll all happen, it would be pretty intense if it did. Sometimes, I wish I could stay here on earth during the Tribulation (I won’t because I’m saved and will be taken up in the Rapture), just to witness everything coming true, to see what the antichrist looks like, to see everything. It’s just my curiosity.
While studying the book of Isaiah, I find myself doing very little note-taking and in-depth study and much more reading like I’m reading a novel of some sort. I have never read the book of Isaiah, not all the way through, so most of these prophecies are completely new to me. The language used is breath-taking and moving, and sometimes I have to read a passage three or four times until I can get past it. The last few chapters have been prophecies concerning specific cities such as Jerusalem and Tyre, while today’s prophecy had to do with the entire world. As I read, I could see a shift in mood; at first, it was all about God clearing the earth of evil, of destruction, of fear, and then in the second part it was all about God replacing what He had destroyed with good, with joy, and with love.
It’s interesting; when I was reading through Revelation I remember reading a passage that described God’s millennial reign over the earth and then His eternal reign following. In Isaiah 24, it gives the specific location from where God will be reigning, or from where His throne will be. It’s on Mount Zion 🙂 I just thought this was so cool since so much has happened on that mount, including Jesus’ trial before Pontius Pilate, along with the temple that was built by Solomon and destroyed (as prophesied) by the Babylonians. Cool 🙂
Reading God’s word and talking to Him made me feel a little better and made getting up a little bit easier. I took a shower to de-tensify my muscles and to wake myself up, getting dressed and heading to church. I was tempted to just stay home for the entire day, but reminded myself of the point of going to church. And I was very glad I did 🙂 I remembered today was my last Sunday home until spring break, and I suddenly wondered where my winter vacation had run off to.
The message was on men and women’s roles in the church. The message was amazing. Pastor stepped right out and, from God’s word, stated that pastors and deacons are to be men, not women. Now, because I live in a feministic world, or a world full of feminists, and because I am an independent and stubborn woman by nature, part of me was all like “Oh no you didn’t! You did not just say men are above women in the church.” But the side that knows God and His word, the part that dominates my thinking (thank goodness), said, “Yep.” Men are supposed to be the head of home and therefore above the wife; likewise they are to be the head of the church as spiritual leaders; women are not meant to have spiritual authority over men (1 Timothy 2:8-15, 3). Now, it doesn’t mean men are meant to be dictators, but rather strong in God and running with Him faster and longer than the women, so that they are able to fulfill the role given to them by God.
Ladies, this is why it’s so important to date a guy who is spiritually stronger than you are, who is running with God. It is his responsibility to lead you if you were ever to marry him, so make sure he’s qualified. If not, then you need to be content with waiting for someone who is capable of leading you towards God, of being able to love you the way you ought to be loved and to encourage you in your growth in your relationship with God.
Men, this is why it’s so important for you to be running with God. If you’re strong in your relationship with the Lord and able-bodied in the art of leading people to Him and encouraging people in His way, you will attract women who want the same growth as you do, who want to love God with you.
Just a thought.
While the message was great, it didn’t completely distract me from the pain that was infecting every inch of my muscles and every cell in my body. Along with the skiing, other things were putting me in an even greater amount of pain, and all I wanted to do was lie down and sleep. After the message we went downstairs into the basement for lunch, which we have every Sunday after church. I was in so much pain and so tired that I didn’t really want to eat anything. I grabbed a hot cup of tea and tried to feel better, but it just wasn’t working.
I spent most of the time in the bathroom, lying on the floor, trying to feel better, until Mom knocked on the door and told me she was taking me home. We went home and I changed into my most comfortable clothes, grabbed a few blankets and a pillow, and curled up in the armchair in my living room. I took some pain medicine and a few moments of sleep and I felt loads better.
When I woke up, I asked if we could watch The Phantom Menace, and we did 🙂 Gracie tried to skip past the prologue, which I scolded her for and made her rewind so I could read it, and we laughed and cried and rooted for Qui Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Anakin Skywalker. Later on, after Gracie, Mom, and I had played a game of Rummy and ordered a pizza from Frankie’s, all of us watched Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. While the movie lacked a lot of the wonderful scenes from the book (like when Polyphemus fell in love with Clarice and tried to marry her, hehe), it wasn’t a bad movie at all. The graphics were above average and the casting was done with great accuracy, and they even made Annabeth blond in this one! 😀 But if you haven’t seen it yet, I won’t reveal any really specific details about the film. Enjoy!
The night ended with Gracie, Jimmy, and I playing tennis and boxing on the Wii and having a tooth brush party in the bathrooms. It happens.
Tomorrow is a day of running errands, packing, and cleaning. I can’t believe I’m going back to New York City on Friday. It’s ridiculous. I’m glad I had this time home though; I really feel ready to go back. I haven’t been home too long but rather just the right amount of time to be refreshed. It’s weird; I thought coming home would be easy, but I now realize how much I enjoy being out on my own, making my own life, having my own adventure with God outside of my family, growing in my faith with just God rather than with my family. A lot of kids who grow up in Christian homes adopt or borrow the faith of their parents and then don’t know what to do when they get out into the real world, because the faith they’d had for so long wasn’t actually theirs. I love having the opportunity to learn more about God on my own, to be proven wrong, to be reminded of how romantic, how strong, how powerful, and how unbelievably amazing He is to me.
While going on adventures like skiing and maneuvering the subway are wonderful and exhilarating, I can’t deny what the greatest adventure really is, and that is being in a relationship with God. I’m not saying that to be corny or to be ultra spiritual; I’m saying it because it’s true. They say that love is an adventure, and that’s just about human love. Imagine how much more adventurous the love of the Savior is 🙂
― Jenny B. Jones, There You’ll Find Me