Are you ready for the end? A recent film titled, ‘Finding a friend for the end of the world’ includes a jilted husband traveling with a neighbor to find a childhood sweetheart with whom to spend the final day on earth. From my understanding of the end of the world, I don't believe it will be a time for seeking companionship and making new friends with whom to share the 'event'.
Humans have been intrigued with the end time since we were evicted from Paradise for disobeying God. Countless people claim to know when the last day will come. The ’seer’, Nostradamus warned us centuries ago that the earth would end in 2011. The Mayan calendar ends on December 21, 2012, so we were warned that that will be the last day for earth's existence.
Harold Camping is one of the most prolific predictors of earth’s last day. He has pronounced several dates as the final date for earth, then, when each date passes uneventfully, Camping simply chooses another date, and many of his believers blindly begin preparations for the new date.
Several groups in Europe waited as their chosen doomsday of September 15, 1994 came and went. Others watched October 10, 2010 come and go, yet they believed the next announced dooms day with the same fervor as they believed in all of the previous ones. I would rather ignore human wisdom (which will fail you every time) and, instead, trust in the only true guidebook, the Bible.
The ‘end of the world’ movie indicates that there is value in finding the right person with whom to experience the end of the world. It’s as though finding the right person to die with is the most important accomplishment one can hope to achieve, perhaps to have the last laugh on life.
Sadly, all of man’s calculations and guesses cannot discern when the earth will meet its end. Jesus Christ, Himself warns us, “… No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Scripture tells us that many people will claim to know exactly when Christ will return, or that He is already on earth. The Bible tells us that, “...For the Son of Man in his day will be like the lightning, which flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other…It will be just like this on the day the Son of Man is revealed.”
It says nothing about finding new friends, holding ‘going away’ parties, etc. God chose not to tell even His only Son, so how can a sinful human hope to be given the ‘scoop?’ The Bible tells us that it is more important to be spiritually ready for that day than to try to determine exactly when it will come.
The Lord tells us to live each day as if it were our last, and as if each day is the day when He will return. We are to love others, and share His message of salvation and the free gift of eternal life that Christ offers freely to all who will receive it.
A friend recently opined that he doesn’t believe that the ancient Mayans, over 500 years ago, saw the end of the world coming in 2012, but did not forecast the Spaniards coming to destroy them in the 1500’s.
The Bible gives us many signs to watch for as the end of this age approaches, and many 'seers' point out signs that the coming of Christ and the end of the world is imminent. I believe I'd rather wait for the unmistakable sign—Jesus coming through the clouds as He promised. There is no need to worry what the future holds when you know who holds the future.
When well-loved actor and comedian, Robin Williams killed himself by asphyxiation this week, wild speculation ensued. One news source opined that Williams suffered from 'Survivor's Guilt", and felt that he had no right to live after three of his close friends (Belushi, Reeves and Coffman), died untimely deaths. Others say that years of drug abuse and depression finally overwhelmed him to the breaking point. Still others believe Williams was bitter about being recently relegated to insignificant TV and movie roles. We will never know for sure, unless a suicide note is discovered. We do know he was divorced several times, resulting in alimony taking much of his fortune. So,he killed himself. If he suffered from depression, we know that can lead to suicide, even when aggressively treated.
The world always seeks answers as to why a person would take his or her own life, particularly a wealthy, famous and well-loved person. We cannot comprehend the demons that may have haunted Williams, even though he always seemed jovial and made others laugh. I once wrote a column, "Suicide: A Permanent Solution to a Temporary Problem", in which I wrote about three friends who had killed themselves, each thinking their death would make the world a better place. They left behind families, including children, who were virtually destroyed by their death, mostly blaming themselves, and feeling inadequate and worthless because someone they loved so much had taken such an extreme measure just to get away from them. Others blame themselves for not being there to say the right things to deter their friend or relative from killing themselves. It was reported posthumously that he was hiding a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease (still no reason to commit suicide).Clearly, suicide never resolves any problems, but creates more problems for those left behind.
I was shocked to read that over 41,000 suicides occur in the U.S. each year. What an enormous waste of human potential, and what a huge amount of despair and pain is created in each case. It's saddening to think of all those left behind to carry guilt, sorrow, loss and despair throughout their lives because of a terrible decision by someone they love.
I have no idea where Robin Williams stood spiritually, and I haven't seen any public profession of faith in any deity or organized religion. The only remotely spiritual statement I had seen attributed to Williams, was that he stated that 'cocaine is God's way of letting you know that you have too much money'.
All major religions of the world (Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, etc.), believe suicide is in violation of their religious tenets. The Bible teaches us that murder is a violation of God's Commandments, so some believe that, since one cannot repent taking their own life, they cannot be forgiven.
While such logic may work for many, it seems antithetical to the main truth of the Scriptures; that all humans sin constantly; we cannot be good enough to pay for our sins, and that even one sin can doom us to Hell. The truth of God's Word is that He had mercy on His doomed creation, and made a way to get the justice He rightly deserves, and to punish our sins...all of our sins. He sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, to be the perfect sacrifice for all sin, and offers eternal life in Heaven to all who will accept His free gift. God, thru His Son, forgives all sin...past, present and future. Therefore, it would seem that a sin, such as suicide, would not keep one from entering Heaven, no more than if one dropped dead while in the act of any other sin. I am not a theologian or scholar, but I trust in God's promises.
We can't know where Robin Williams' soul resides for eternity, but we do know that John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life". I pray that Robin Williams is resting with the Lord, but, as for me, I place all my trust in the Lord-plus, I'm too nosy about what's coming up next to deprive myself of every day of life God is willing to give me.
Jim Jackson is a Nationally Syndicated Columnist (www.amyfound.org) and Author (In All Things...Tate Publishing, Oklahoma City). He's a freelance writer and Editor-In-Chief of the Amy Foundation Internet Writing Syndicate. Jim has been a member of St. Matthew Lutheran Church for more than 3 decades.