I’ve been musing about many things in recent weeks because there has been much in the news and in the world around to try and make sense of.
I’ve shared in the sense of shock surrounding terrorist attacks in Boston USA and in Woolwich closer to home.
I’ve followed with pain the parliamentary debates and national mood about redefining marriage.
I’ve noticed areas of promising regeneration in our city and passed through derelict streets and decaying local centres.
I’ve enjoyed celebrating friends’ weddings and birthdays and also sat with others friends coming to terms with cancer and serious illness.
I’ve stood in strong faith with others praying for spiritual transformation across communities and yet been challenged by people around me far more fervent for God than I have been in past weeks.
And in the midst of all this normal flux of good and bad, joy and pain in this world we inhabit, I try to come to terms with a forerunner calling and destiny. The reason I started this blog was to reflect on faith, life and ultimate things. I grow in conviction that the 2nd coming of Jesus is closer than we think – maybe not immediate but only decades away. Just as John the Baptist was a forerunner declaring a simple message before Jesus’ ministry 2000 years ago : ‘prepare the way for the Lord’, so too there will be many voices united in a similar call in the closing years of human history.
Many times I don’t know what to do with this sense of God’s call to me. I shy away from saying it too much to those around me for fear of sounding like a stuck record. I also think I struggle with the radical nature of this message. It’s radical in the sense of being an unusual focus. It’s also radical because it is essentially prophetic and future oriented – these things haven’t happened yet. I am also reticent about these things because of sounding wacky and unbalanced – in an age of fear of extremism, there is a cost to being a forerunner. In addition I sometimes worry about the possibility of being plain wrong – I might not be hearing from God at all and just projecting my own internal thoughts about the future.
I think too that it is easier not to concentrate on such things because it requires hard work – in thinking, discerning, reading and praying to understand a new area of theology for me (eschatology/ end times) – and a reassessment of priorities and lifestyle. I still like my comfort and an unruffled life, which of course is an illusion anyway.
So, even in the light of these uncertainties and life around me, this forerunner conviction grows. I do hope I am not the only one feeling this. Time will tell.
One afternoon last week, when I was concerned about the cost of pursuing this call, I happened to be reading Mark 13v34 when Jesus speaks of the day and hour of his return being a mystery. He still tells his disciples to be ready and even calls for the one at the door to watch. The name for that person is a ‘porter’. Well I happened to take that quite personally, as God’s gentle challenge, imbued in my surname, to be one of those who will watch in faith for the signs of Jesus’ return.
I hope that might be an encouragement to any who are either wrestling about God’s call on your life, to keep wrestling with it and not to bury it. The may also be others who God is similarly speaking a forerunner word and prophetic understanding. I somehow don’t think it is going to go away!