Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.
Isaiah 41:4, King James Version
We are truly living in interesting days. Just since the beginning of 2016, 978 earthquakes of magnitude 4.0 or greater have been recorded. 54 armed conflicts continue around the world, with 25 of those having started in this new millennium. Having weathered the ebola scare, the world is now facing the fear of yet another potential epidemic in the Zika virus. We have around 870 million people worldwide that are going hungry each day. In the US alone, it has been estimated that there are around 1.5 million homeless, about 50000 of those veterans of the US military. Take these numbers and add them to the fact that the global economy hangs by a tenuous strand, the central banking system and stock markets no longer able to mask the catastrophic errors they have made and continue to make. Tensions are on the rise between the US, Russia, and China, and even within organizations like the EU, where Britain is looking to exit. NATO is fractured and the cracks are continuing to widen. Genocide against Christians is being perpetrated in the Middle East, with some areas that have seen a Christian presence for over 2000 years now completely devoid of it. For the first time in history, technology has now advanced to a state where the antichrist system prophesied of in the Book of Revelation can now be implemented through biometrics and tracking systems. While we cannot be sure of when the end times will finally come, all of this taken together paints a picture of it just on the horizon.
Reports of demonic possessions are on the rise worldwide, with even the Catholic Church recognizing this fact back in 2014 and it has taken steps to train even more priests in exorcism rituals. Despite this spiritual and supernatural warfare, along with the stresses outlined above, atheism is continuing to grow, and is now recognized as the world’s third largest religion. It is especially growing in the more developed countries of the West and China, where a socialist government continues to restrict religious freedom. Despite popular culture now pushing religious belief as antiquated and merely “superstition”, media based on the supernatural continues to grow in popularity, showing that at least at the subconscious level, there is a knowledge that there is more than what our five senses can perceive and a thirst for reconnection with that spiritual realm.
While there are no clear numbers to be found on this through polling, it seems almost everyone I talk to these days are experiencing periods of extreme anxiety for no apparent reason. Our ever-increasingly secular world sees this anxiety as a mental health issue rather than a spiritual issue. Admittedly, some of these anxiety disorders likely are mental health issues, but in the US alone, more than 40 million people suffer from anxiety disorders, with roughly one third of those (more than 13 million) being treated for it. Interestingly, among the most common medicinal treatments for anxiety and depression are SSRIs and SNRIs, which inhibit the reuptake of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin has been linked to many different functions within the body, but one of the more interesting studies links serotonin to proclivity towards religiosity and spirituality. Many of those that are put on SSRIs and SNRIs describe becoming like zombies, with no feelings whatsoever, and a general loss of any kind of feeling of spirituality. Whether intended or not, the overmedication of those experiencing anxiety could be cutting people off from their contact with the spiritual world, even God himself, resulting in a pharmaceutical mass-zombification of the populace, and this could explain the rising number of atheists in our modern society.
Taking this one step further, it my own personal belief that these episodes of unexplained anxiety are something more. I began having these feelings around 4 years ago. At the time, I was on SSRIs and these feelings coincided with an overwhelming urge to get off of the drugs. I have recounted the story a few times, but trying to get off the medication through stepping down in dosage and on my own failed. The resulting withdrawals were just too much to bear, with extreme headaches and nausea making it a miserable experience. Though I had been departed from a Christian life for many years, I prayed for the first time in a very long time, and though the side effects of the withdrawal did not completely go away, the Lord aided me in getting off the drugs. Once I was off of them, I continued prayer and began down the road to discovering my faith. In praying for wisdom and discernment, the Lord led me to information that opened up new knowledge and answered previously held questions for me. Once I had this new knowledge, the Lord then put it on my heart to begin to share this knowledge, which led me to begin with news aggregation of the events going on in the world, and this journey eventually led me to what I am doing now. And I know the Lord has even more in store for me, as He continues to lay paths before me that I would have never otherwise been able to find. I recount all of this in order to make this statement: I fully believe that these episodes of extreme anxiety and an overall feeling of unease that is being experienced by so many in these times are a call by the Lord to return to His fold.
According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
2 Peter 1:3-11, King James Version
Even as the events in our world are showing us that the time of Revelation may not be that far off, the Lord is calling out to each of us to return to Him. Each individual on this Earth at this time was born for this specific time, given particular gifts, and is being called upon to put those gifts to work for the greater cause of His will. We are being called upon to be obedient to His will, to use those gifts to reach out to as many brothers and sisters as we can. Preceding generations were called upon to occupy through prayer and intercession, but this generation is being called upon to receive Him and His gifts, and to become the instruments of His will in the world.
We must encourage one another through action and also encourage others to seek Him in their hearts, to cultivate a personal relationship that they might know what it is that His will is for them. Only through daily prayer and a studying of the Word can one reach this personal relationship. Once you have begun the journey to establishing that relationship with the Lord, He will begin to guide your footsteps onto the path that He has constructed for you. For some, that will be intercessory prayer…others, it will be writing or broadcasts to spread the Word and remove the cobwebs from the eyes of the sleeping…yet others it may be works in the world, feeding the hungry or missionary work. We all play a role in His greater plan. But you cannot know that role without first knowing Him.
I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
Ephesians 4:1-16, King James Version
We are all given tasks and the gifts that enable us to fulfill those tasks. However, we cannot do this if we continue to place stumbling blocks before one another. Division and discord amongst the Body of Christ is the work of the adversary, not Our Heavenly Father. Attacks amongst the Christian body must cease. We must put aside doctrinal disagreements and raise one another up in brotherly love for the greater cause. It is not about denominations or individuals; it is about the glorification of God. Because another receives a different task doesn’t make him your enemy, but he has simply received a different marching order. Because another works in a different way, perhaps their message isn’t for you or those you are working with, but for another. Definitely, we must use discernment because the enemy is always working within our midst, but if you are troubled by another’s message, take it to the Lord in prayer, and He will put the wisdom on your heart of the truth of the matter. But to attack based on your worldly instincts is to react on the whims of the one that would attempt to overthrow the Lord.
In closing, I would encourage everyone that reads this to go before the Lord in prayer, whether you believe or do not. Ask Him into your heart; ask Him to show you the truth of the matter. There is a storm on the horizon, both within the physical and the spiritual worlds. In order to weather this storm, we must be united in the power of Christ, who has given us the power to tread over the enemies that have come before us and seek to cut us off from His loving embrace.
May the Lord keep you and yours in His protection.