By Derick Dillard
I can’t even describe right now the anticipation I am feeling, as I am about to get to meet my firstborn son for the first time face to face. So many people have already testified that nothing can quite describe that moment and that I’ll just have to experience it for myself.
When I look around, I can see new life everywhere. The trees are budding, which means summer is near. My wife, Jill, is beginning to have contractions which means that the birth of our son is near.
These are exciting times we are living in, but they can also be very fearful times as we look at events around the world, whether they are catastrophic natural disasters, world hunger, political unrest, or just pure hate.
Jesus Christ used parables and everyday events as a means by which to teach people life principles. In Matthew 24, Jesus uses the pictures of both a laboring mother and a budding fig tree in spring to relate to people how events surrounding the last days of earth – “end times events” (i.e. famine, wickedness, false teaching, rumors of war, the testimony of Jesus going to all the world) will transpire. Until this point in my life, I mostly just went to the “lesson of the fig tree” for my understanding of these “end times” events. But now, I can more fully understand what Jesus meant when he related these events to “birth pains”.
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” -Matthew 24:6-14
From what I’ve learned in birth class (as well as from Jill, who is a student midwife) and from what I am witnessing right now with Jill, labor pains start sporadically and then become more consistent, longer lasting, and stronger the closer we get to the birth of our son. Again, it’s important to remember that we don’t know when he will be born, but we can definitely see the evidence that points to his imminent arrival, whenever that might be. This is the perfect picture of how “end times” events will play out.
Most people know about the first coming of Christ (this is of course when we celebrate Christmas), but he is also coming again, on a day and hour that only our heavenly Father knows. Jesus tells us to “therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” (Matthew 24:42) As a Christian, it is encouraging for me to know that I have a relationship with Jesus, the one who already knows all things and whose word can be trusted as truth. Jesus knows the beginning and the end because he made them. Speaking of Jesus -- “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:1-5) Jesus told us what the end times would look like, and we are closer now to his second coming than ever before. His word, that is the Bible, can be counted on. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Matthew 24:35)
If you don’t know Jesus, and your uncertainty of the end of the world scares you, I urge you to consider the words of Jesus, repent of your sin, and live your life for God. What a better time to turn your life to Jesus, than Passion week, the week Christians celebrate the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus on Easter! Praise God he has conquered death and is coming again! Good people don’t go to heaven; those who are forgiven of their sin for Jesus’ sake go to heaven. Life with him is the best, and the life he gives beyond this world is even better!
Now that I’m about to be a dad, I find it quite interesting that Jesus related the end of the world to the event of birth. And it’s easy to relate to because as much as Jill and I want to know when this birth will happen, the day and the hour of baby dilly’s birth is definitely unknown.