This is it, folks. According to Christian Family Radio and its leader, Harold Camping, this morning’s sunrise was the last we will ever see. Today, earthquakes and floods will usher in the end of the world…at least the beginning of it. Or was it the rapture? Something BIG is supposed to happen today, anyway. I’ve been watching the TV but so far no big news. Problem is, at this very moment, it’s already May 22 in some parts of the world, so how do time zone changes factor into Camping’s equation? I guess he knows something I don’t—that God works in Pacific Standard Time.
The same group is predicting the END of the world on October 21 of this year, so I’ll be watching for that. And then there’s the long-standing Mayan “end-of-the-world” prediction for 2012. In fact, there have been many such predictions over the decades, none of which have transpired, as far as I can tell.
If I sound sarcastic, it is not because I don’t believe in the Last Day predictions found in the Bible. I do believe in the Rapture of the Church (although I’m not convinced it is pre-Trib.), and I do believe in a Judgment Day on Earth. But I also believe Jesus when he said no man knows the day or the hour (Matthew 24: 36). So why do people keep trying to figure it out?
As I thought about this, it occurred to me that there is a lesson here about listening to God. I don’t doubt that Camping prayed repeatedly about his prediction before going public. But my guess is – although the end of the day, PST, is not here yet – he did all the talking and didn’t listen.
Listening to God is no easy task, frequently avoided, and often terribly misunderstood. Yet in numerous places in the Bible we are encouraged in Scripture to do just that, as part of our spiritual growth and soul formation. My favorite passage about listening for God’s voice is in John 10, in which Jesus encouraged his followers (through analogy) to listen to the Good Shepherd and know his voice well enough that they can recognize it when he speaks, and follow him.
To [the shepherd] the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. (vss. 3, 4)
Further on in that passage Jesus talks about “other sheep” (vs. 16)…surely this is a reference to Gentiles, and I stake my life on the idea that it means future generations, too. So I find myself rubbing elbows with the followers of Jesus day, who, like me, were learning what it meant to listen, recognize God’s voice (Jesus said often that He and the Father are one), and follow.
How do we listen to God? First and foremost, we begin by reading and heeding the Scriptures, for they are the inspired Word of God to all mankind. I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if Harold Camping had “listened” to and believed Matthew 24:36. He wouldn’t have wasted so much time spreading a false rumor, and all those people who sold their houses in anticipation of The End (did they think they would take the cash with them?) would have nothing to be ticked off about tomorrow.
For me, it means I wouldn’t have spent part of the morning watching the news, and this blog would be about a different topic entirely. At least the whole day isn’t wasted…I still get to watch the Preakness in a few minutes.