We know the story and we know how it ends. We even have an instruction manual to guide us to the assured victory, yet many still fear the end of time. Though prophecies foretelling catastrophic events and even death decrees might play a significant factor in provoking fear, why do Seventh-day Adventists fear when they know that God will prevail against evil? While non-believers are afraid because they do not know or trust in the scriptures, as Seventh-day Adventists we have the assurance of God’s victory, foretold in His word. Therefore, I believe there is greater underlying motive causing many Seventh-day Adventists to dread what should be their greatest hope.
A COMMITMENT PROBLEM LEADS TO FEAR FOR TOMORROW
Simply put, I have observed that many Seventh-day Adventists today have a commitment issue. Though they may faithfully go to church, pay tithe, and participate in daily devotions, many have failed to seek God and let Him infiltrate every aspect of their life. Instead, they seek worldly success. As a freshman in college, on the brink of my adult life, I am not immune to this same struggle. I often struggle with becoming distracted when contemplating my own future of desire for success. God asks us to surrender completely to Him, but it is sobering to realize that many of us do not entrust 100 percent of our life to God’s will.
For example, we read parables about the hidden treasure and the pearl of great price, but fail to apply the message to our own life (New King James Version, Matt. 13:44-46). These lessons call us to invest everything in searching after God. Therefore, God wants this goal to be at the forefront of our every thought and decision. I am afraid that we have become half hearted. I believe that those of us who fear the end of time have a subconscious realization of our personal failure to commit entirely to God’s cause. In other words, we are apathetic, and we know it. We understand the standard God is calling us to, but we are too wrapped up in our own selfish ambitions to comply. We are afraid because we know we are not doing all that we can for the glory of God. We do not want to sacrifice the pleasures of this world, and therefore we fear the consequence we know are coming.
A BALANCING ACT THAT LEADS TO OUR FALL
I have often wondered how, throughout history, men and women of God could have chosen the obvious wrong path. What was Eve thinking when she took the fruit? How could all of the disciples abandon Christ at His darkest hour? How could Peter deny Jesus when he had just been warned that he would? How could the priests have failed to accept their long awaited Messiah? How could the antediluvians reject the invitation to enter the ark? Sadly, the sobering truth is that we have continued to follow this pattern. We try to maintain our balance with one foot in the ark, but the rest our bodies are engrossed in the affairs of the earth. However, to be saved, we must be fully inside of the ark of salvation even if this shuts us out from society.
WE MUST TAKE GOD’S INSTRUCTIONS SERIOUSLY
Though we are equipped with warnings and instructions, sadly, we fail to act on them even when they are abundantly clear. First Thessalonians 5:17 calls us to, “pray without ceasing,” and Deuteronomy 6:5 instructs us to, “love the Lord your God with all your heart,” yet many do not even begin to think about God nearly as frequently as they contemplate their favorite baseball team, their next winter vacation or how they will advance within the company. However, the Bible makes it unmistakably clear that there is no middle ground. Either we are all for serving God or we are not. We must take these counsels seriously if we are to be ready for Christ’s soon advent. Jeremiah 29:13 informs us that God is only found when we search for Him with all of our hearts. This leaves no room for complacency. Ephesians 6:13 guides us to, “take up the WHOLE armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done ALL, to stand.” We should be doing everything in our power to prepare to stand for Christ!
LOVE FOR JESUS, THE ONLY LASTING MOTIVATOR
The greatest fear of death or love of life will never enable us to endure the tribulation to come. Our only hope is to fall in love with our Savior so that He absorbs our precious thoughts and time. In fact, this love will give us the desire to fervently study the Bible. We will begin to constantly pour our hearts out before God in prayer. Experiencing this love will be so incredible that we will not be able to keep it to ourselves. We will happily share with all who are willing to listen and we will humbly serve others as Jesus would. To effectively draw others to Jesus, these actions must spring from genuine love for our Savior.
However, following God goes against our natural selfishness. Therefore, if we are to be His children, we must be intentional in our walk with Him. Following God will not offer the glamour and fun that this world uses to entice us. Rather, following God will offer hardships, trials, persecution, and yes - true joy. Second Corinthians 4:9 points out that Christians will be persecuted on every side, but we will never be forsaken. Followers of God may experience pain, loneliness, discouragement, and rejection, but they press on because they know that the joy to come is immeasurable. Nothing can compare to the wonder of basking in God’s presence.
When we truly see all that Jesus has done for us, we cannot make an unworthy sacrifice for His cause!
I especially love the way Ellen White describes this pure joy in her vision of heaven, recorded in Early Writings. “We tried to call up our greatest trials, but they looked so small compared with the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory that surrounded us that we could not speak them out, and we all cried out, ‘Alleluia, Heaven is cheap enough!’” (White, 17).
We know the story and we know how it ends. We even have an instruction manual to guide us to the assured victory, yet many still fear the end of time.
Darcee Christensen is a freshman at Southern Adventist University.