These words, “You have to stay strong”, can easily be uttered by outsiders, when the affected person is clearly suffering under certain circumstances.
One might try to strengthen the other person with these words, but whether that alone will help is debatable. And sometimes, I come across people who simply ask, “How are you?” as they walk by, and without paying any attention to my response, they either do not reply at all or just say, “…then take care”.
The world has become very short-lived in its actions, and nobody seems to have any honest care for their neighbor. Society in my neighborhood has changed a lot for the worse, and I would even say that this applies to the whole world.
Not only have people become very superficial and almost everyone thinks only of themselves, but also antisemitism has returned in the most brutal way all over the world. I would argue that antisemitism never went away, it just, for a brief period, didn’t manifest itself to the outside world, and sadly, this condition only lasted for a generation. The words, “We must never forget,” are of no special value.
For true Christians, it is not difficult to recognize that this world is ruled by none other than Satan, who is also called the Devil, the dragon, and the old serpent.
Personally, I have never heard so many war reports in my entire life as these days, and I have to admit that it makes me, as well as certainly others, sad, angry and worried, when I think about it or see or hear about it in the media – but then again, I am also at the same time hopeful in anticipation of the coming of Christ, that it will happen soon after all. It’s all like a merry-go-round of emotions.
And then I ask myself: “Am I even ready for the coming of Christ? And how will I then stand before Him? Will I even be worthy before Him? Will I fail miserably by then or will I remain strong in this last dramatic time?”
We could very well face terrible wars, persecution, betrayal of our own brothers and sisters, and even persecution from our own family. And we must constantly remind ourselves that Jesus Christ pointed out the following to us in the Bible:
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:6-8).
These are precisely the times we are currently experiencing; nevertheless, it is not yet the end, but the beginning of sorrows. And then, Christ said:
“‘Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24:9-13).
This message from Christ does not seem to point to a rosy future. One factor or another can cause somebody to lose their balance completely, so they may run out of inner strength and fail miserably. Many will have to go through a terrible and merciless tribulation after falling away from the Truth. Some will be able to come out of this tribulation, as Christ tells us; but others may indeed fail and even end up fighting a hateful and murderous battle against God until their ultimate bitter destruction.
We read in Revelation 7:4-9 that of all the tribes of Israel, 144,000 will come out of this tribulation and will be sealed, as well as a great multitude which no one could number. But then we also read in Revelation 16:9-11 about people filled with hate who blaspheme God despite great plagues and pain.
It must be absolutely clear to us: “But he who endures [and stays strong] to the end shall be saved.”
But we cannot do this by our own strength, as we have already learned from the Word of God. We need God’s power, His help and strength. This can only be achieved through prayer, Bible study and thinking about what we have read, occasional fasting and strong faith without any doubts. And we must be there with and for each other, for we all have one faith, one hope, one confidence, one love, one Lord, one God and one Spirit of power in us.
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul wrote the following words, which also have great significance for us today:
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, to which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit [which] dwells in us” (2 Timothy 1:7-14).
All in all, this means for each and every one of us: “You must stay strong!”
Initial translation: Daniel Blasinger