Armageddon, Chicken Little, and “Crying Wolf”

ONE BENEFIT OF GEEZER-HOOD (and AARP officially welcomed me into that fellowship nearly 15 years ago) is that you’ve lived long enough to develop some perspective. You can fit current events into a few decades of observation and draw comparisons.

As I write today, a bail-out vote failed to pass in Congress, and the stock market lost more points than ever in history. Some say Armageddon is just around the corner. Some say that Chicken Little was right—the sky IS falling. And lots of little boys and girls are crying “Wolf!”

Admittedly, the world does at present seem to be “going to hell in a handbasket.” And one of these days, Armageddon will happen, the sky will fall, and the wolf will show up.

But as a geezer, I remember in my callow youth a decade when the same alarms were ringing. Rewind 40 years, for example, to 1968. Only five years earlier, JFK had been assassinated. Now, in ’68, RFK, then MLK, met the same fate. Racial strife turned cities into bonfires. College campuses roiled in protest against the Vietnam War. Surely, the end of the planet must be near.

A few years later, Iran humiliated the United States by holding our hostages. Interest rates skyrocketed to more than 20 percent (I remember well, as I had to get a mortgage at those loan-shark levels!). Gas prices spiked to a level that wouldn’t be matched for 40 more years. Surely, the end of the planet must be near.

  • Watergate.
  • Iraq War I.
  • 9/11.
  • Iraq War II.

And now, possible financial collapse—a New Great Depression.

Each major upheaval has sent preachers warning of Armageddon, pundits warning of worldwide catastrophe, and most of us into some level of fear and stress.

Is the world about to end? Is what we’ve seen lately evidence that indeed, “this is it”?

Maybe. Maybe not.

My own church rose out of a mid-1800s religious movement that set a date for the end of the world: October 22, 1844, to be precise. Obviously, that never happened. Yet scary world events still bring prophets out of the woodwork to proclaim a deadline for the end of human history.

My own church talks about the “great time of trouble” (see Daniel 12:1). Many other churches talk about the “tribulation.” Some Christians believe in a “rapture” ahead of that dark time. Others of us believe in the return of Christ afterward.

So is this it?

You could make that case. Imminent economic collapse. The growing gulf between the “have’s” and the “have not’s.” Corruption and greed rampant. Terrorism seething and ready to explode. Endless war.

But given that other times have also loomed as scary and troublous in decades recently past, perhaps a bit of caution is in order. Perhaps we shouldn’t reflexively join Chicken Little and the Boy Who Cried Wolf each time the sky darkens or we hear the faraway howl of a canis lupus.

And perhaps above all, while it’s good to keep one eye on world events and compare them to Bible prophecy, it’s even better to be ready for the end of all things every single day we live. And that means centering our lives on Jesus—getting to know and trust Him better.

Far better, it seems to me, than monitoring world events to know just the right moment to start “getting ready” for the end of all things, is BEING READY every day and staying that way! And being ready isn’t trying hard to be good—it’s trusting the One who IS our only goodness.

Is this “the beginning of the end”? I don’t know—and I don’t think anyone can say for sure. One of these days, the last events—the time of trouble—WILL take place. One of these days, Jesus WILL return to end the misery and chaos. If this day’s events are part of the process of getting from here to there, I say, “Bring it on!”

But if not—if time moves on another decade or two or four—I want to be sure MY remaining time is spent peacefully developing my Primary and Eternal Friendship—and not in a constant panic of fear and stress as the world around me goes steadily more berserk.

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