“ But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.” 1 Peter 4:7
That is one sad phrase to hear, isn’t it? “The end is here.” That’s not even the whole of it but let’s just imagine a little bit of what that feels like. Then end of vacation. The end of visiting with family you don’t get to see much. The end of Christmas day. The end of the Fellowship of Christian Puppeteers National Conference. The end of a life here on earth. But the words here say “the end of all things is at hand…”
Yep, all means all. My life as I know it, is in the process of coming to an end. Every moment is in the process of coming to an end. The world and everything in it is in that same process of coming to an end. There is a limit to the time we and everything else have to experience life as we know it now. There is a limit, a definite time or goal set by God, not just individually, but there is a day that You have set Lord, when all things as we know it will cease to be and the way that You know things ought to be and were created to be will come to be.
I wonder if I’m living as though any day could be my last day? It would be an awful shame to ignore the truth I know, and waste the days I’ve been given. I don’t have an excuse for living ignorantly. You’ve given me everything I need to know. You’ve even given me Your Spirit to empower me. But where am I focussed? Am I focussed on things that are ending or am I focussed on life and things eternal? Where am I in prayer? Is my mind soundly set on You and Your ways? Where do my thoughts and imaginations dwell? Am I alert to the inclinations of the Holy Spirit? Am I ever in-tuned to Your leading like a good soldier? Am I alert to the things happening around me and to the open hearts or redirection of Your Spirit? How is my prayer life? How ready for each day, which may be my last, our last, am I? ‘Cause we won’t be living like this forever. You’ve got a new world full of Your ways, and extra full of You coming!
The Amplified Bible shares 1 Peter 4:7 like this, “The end and culmination of all things is near. Therefore, be sound-minded and self-controlled for the purpose of prayer [staying balanced and focused on the things of God so that your communication will be clear, reasonable, specific and pleasing to HIm.] The Complete Jewish Bible shares, “The accomplishing of the goal of all things is close at hand. Therefore, keep alert and self-controlled, so that you can pray.” Do I get the emphasis? What is the way to handle the coming end of all things? What is the most important way to prepare and be ready and to live in that in-between time once I know Jesus and am surrendered to You as Lord and Savior? PRAYER. If I don’t stay in constant communication with You, the rest is going to fall apart in my life.
The type of love and hospitality, the way I use my giftings, the kind of steward I am, the words I speak and whether I glorify You or not will all flow from the kind of relationship I have with You in prayer. Am I dependent upon my time with You? Do I cry out to You in my neediness? Or am I self-sufficient? What is my prayer life like? Is it powerless? So will the rest of my life be. Is there no urgency? Is that because my thoughts are more lined up with this world than with You?
I don’t want to be like the scoffers in the end times, that Peter says are busy walking after their own lusts, their own desires. I don’t want to get comfortable sitting on my haunches saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:4) No, they aren’t. The minute Adam and Eve chose their own way over You, that first sin of choosing something less than God in the place of You, that was the beginning of all things ending. Sin brought with it death, the end of good things. And just as You promised that all things would die, so You promised that all things would come to a final end, and be made new in You, so that some day, those who put their trust in You through Your promised Messiah, who came as a Bethlehemite and a Nazarene and suffered the cross for our reconciliation and Your glory, and who rose again, to make this picture clear for us, could bring us to You. Jesus has paved the way so that the end is not the end for those who believe.
It’s funny. Now that I’ve been a full time missionary for over 2 years, I understand better how this world is not my home. I can be “home” in Luray, Virginia, with my family, friends, and church, but I know it’s only for a time. This is not my home any more. And then I can be home in Manila, Philippines, with my family of God, and my husband, and friends, and I still know it’s only for a time. This is not my home either. I’m getting older, as we all do. My body is changing. I understand there is a limit not only on my life, but on that of the world as we know it. And it still comes down to that one question. How is my prayer life? Am I in tune with You, Lord? Am I where I need to be in You for the moments I have left? Because if I’m not, others will lose out, and there is an eternity at stake here. Lord, help my heart to love and cherish and long for time with You in prayer to know what I need to know and how I need go each day.