In my Sunday morning message this past weekend, I used the illustration of two rivers to describe my beliefs about the end times. One river is the natural world in which we live and the other river is the kingdom of God. Both rivers are approaching flood stage and they are side by side but flowing in opposite directions. Soon, it will be impossible to stand in both because the current in each river will be too strong.
Those that choose to stay in the world’s river will be swept away by worry and fear and will eventually need a rescue. Those of us longing for the coming kingdom will be swept away into a life of wonder and risk. I believe the world will become more and more broken while the church, the body of Christ, will rise up as a spotless bride, a witness to a world needing answers and truth.
During the Colorado summers, we get to enjoy world class rafting on the Arkansas River. At the height of the snow melt and subsequent runoff, the strongest rapids are stage 4 or 5, which are the fastest two categories. To survive, you need an experienced guide and even then it is always dangerous and sometimes fatal.
I see danger ahead in the world’s river. The global financial mess has no easy answers and I suspect there will be riots on the streets of most countries when entitlements can no longer be funded by bankrupt governments. Wars in the Middle East will not subside anytime soon and natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes and tsunamis will continue to wreck humanity. All of this could cause us to tremble with fear, especially if you are in the wrong river, on the wrong boat, with the wrong guide.
But I am hopeful – hope filled today. The kingdom of God is breaking in all around us, if we could just look with spiritual eyes and listen carefully with spiritual ears. Notice how often in scripture, Jesus told his followers and the crowds that those with eyes to see would see and those with ears to hear would hear. The changing of the spiritual seasons should be as easy to spot as the changing of the natural seasons.
I want to lean in right now and listen. I want to focus my eyes on the things God is doing and not let my heart be troubled. I want both feet planted in the right river, in the right boat, headed in the right direction, with the Holy Spirit as my guide. This may be too mystical for some who are reading, but sometimes prophetic pictures a like a kaleidoscope, creating multiple colors and shapes that can be seen differently by each person.
The two rivers are rising, the kingdom of God is arriving and the church is becoming pure through testing and trials. We are blessed to be here on earth in this season as a witness to it all. May we be constantly alert, ever courageous and always prayerful.