It’s Saturday evening and I’m still here.
So, either I missed “The Rapture” or Harold Camping was wrong.
One of the most disconcerting aspects of this whole ‘judgment day on May 21’ fiasco for me, though, has less to do with the false prophecy of Camping, and more to do with the pride of others–including myself. I found it too easy to mock, point fingers at, and deride the guy and his followers who so vehemently claimed today was The Day. Yes, this whole thing might hurt the credibility of faith in Jesus a bit, but those of us following Christ are already following the Way of Foolishness (cf. 1 Cor 1:26ff). We would be wise to heed the last words of that linked passage: that we boast not in our own wisdom or right-ness, but boast in Christ alone.
So, here is my boast:
I pretty much suck and have nothing good in me. Despite this, the King of the Ages condescended to live a perfect life as a Man on the earth and redeemed me from my suckiness. Now I am righteous because I am his and he makes me good. Now I have fullness of life because the Living One rescued me from death. Now I have hope because the Author and Finisher of Faith secured it for me even when I had earned despair. More than this, he has invited me to enjoy a great adventure with him. None of this do I deserve, nor am I entitled to anything. The most amazing thing, though, is that this goodness, life, and hope are free to anyone who enters into existence with Jesus…even you despite your suckiness.
God’s decision to ‘postpone’ the return of Christ is not a testimony of Harold Camping’s wrong-ness, but of the Father’s love (that he isn’t willing for any to die without him, but for as many who will to come to fullness of life in him); I really want to make sure I’m focusing on the Father’s love rather than filling my heart with pride as I point to someone else’s misguided assertion.
Furthermore, this time is an opportunity for me (and maybe you, too) to do some serious introspection wherein I find myself asking a couple of questions:
1. AM I READY?
Whether I believe in the ‘pretribulation Rapture’ or not, I do believe there is a Judgment and there is no promise I have so much as the next breath before I am confronted with that Judgment. Given this, am I even now pursuing greater intimacy with Jesus? Am I ready to meet him face-to-face as the Conquering King and Righteous Judge… and not just a good ol’ pal?
Will I hear, “Well done!”?
2. DO I REALLY BELIEVE JESUS GIVES LIFE & IS OUR ONLY HOPE?
Harold Camping spent a lot of money and risked a lot of ridicule because he believed Jesus’ return was occurring today. He ‘put it all on the line’ without any foreseeable financial or personal return in an effort to warn others about what he thought he knew. Am I willing to risk resource and ridicule to share the hope I have? Do I love the people around me enough to graciously share the amazing love and hard truth of Jesus with them?
I can’t say I’m glad Harold Camping was wrong. But I am glad I can rest in God’s sovereignty and love for me–and I get to keep pursuing him. Even more than most weeks, I’m excited about gathering with other Christ followers tomorrow in worship of the Risen and soon returning King!