But the sunshine lay beyond the clouds.
We live in Oklahoma. Oklahoma is a state of consistency, but also of change. The people who call Oklahoma home do not like change, of this I can attest. We like to do thing as we have always done. If there is but a Walmart within driving distance and church within a rock’s throw, we are content. We do not like change. But one thing that is so remarkable about Oklahomans, is that we are a people who dislike change and very much the idea of new things, yet we are constantly being dealt the hand of change. Changing weather is one thing that defines Oklahoma. It can be a beautiful 70 degrees one day and the next, freezing temperatures. We can go from tornados to floods to ice storms within the span of a week. Change is a part of who we are as much as consistency. We have grown accustomed to the clouds and the rains that come sweeping down the plains, but equally important we must remember the sunshine that follows.
Stemming from a biblical worldview, Christians know that the clouds will always precede the sunshine. The world is increasingly getting worse and none of this is a shock to us. We see change, and it is at times surprising, but really it isn’t. Jesus speaks in detail in Matthew 24 about the changing of the times. If anything in the Bible, we Oklahomans can relate to this. Jesus says the times are going to get bad. Jesus says the times are going to be worse than any other time in history.
Jesus says that the clouds are coming and the days that will come with them will be worse than the days of the flood, worse than the sacking of Jerusalem by Babylon, worse than the destruction of Israel, worse than any time in the history of man. We have seen some pretty terrible days in recent history. Jesus says the days these will be defined not by justice and love, but rather by lawlessness and betrayal. Jesus says all this will happen, and then the end will come.
But the great news of the gospel is that those days will not be long and the sunshine lay beyond the clouds.
29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.30 Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. — Matthew 24:29–31 (ESV)
Today, we can see the clouds coming over the horizon. The events we have seen unfolding around us are just signs of the coming storm. The evil celebrated in New York city, the redefining of marriage, the starving and slaughter of innocents in Venezuela, the persecution of Christians around the globe are all signs of the coming storm.
We see all the evil and wickedness in the world today, and often times we forget what is on the other side. Christ is coming soon. God has not forgotten his promises and when our Savior returns, he will pierce the clouds of darkness that has engulfed the world with the light of the Kingdom of God.
We must not forget the sunshine that lay beyond the clouds and the God from which it comes. May God grant his people peace, courage, and endurance in the days ahead!