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Mark 208 - Days of Distress

How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! Pray that this will not take place in winter, because those will be days of distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world, until now—and never to be equaled again.

Mark 13:17-19

Not everyone’s the same. While everyone’s loved in God’s eyes, and to be valued by us, they’re not the same. Some people need more help than others. Some have less strength and can’t do what everybody else can. Some people are slower, weaker, have a heavier burden to carry, to live with.

We have dear friends whose son was struck by a vehicle and now suffers from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI.) From that dreadful day, their lives have been wildly altered. As a young teen, he can’t talk or walk. He must be carried or pushed in his wheelchair. He eats, if you want to call it that, by a large syringe that pushes liquid nutrients into him. And, if it’s not too indelicate, they also wash him and change his adult diapers. He needs more help than your average, run-of-the-mill teen.

His parents need more help than your average parents do. They require special equipment, furniture, training, and skill to take care of the son they love. As you can imagine, they don’t get out much. They have a modified van that they can put him and his wheelchair in. Mostly it’s to take him to doctors and hospitals.

He goes to a school that’s especially equipped with trained staff and technology to help him. His goals are not those normally associated with a bright, active, young teenage boy. His goals are much more modest.

But no matter his disabilities, no matter the challenges, this young man and his family are worthy of our admiration and support. Yes, he can’t do what others can, but that doesn’t diminish his worth to God. His family. His community.

Jesus talks about pregnant and nursing women that will have tremendous struggles and difficulties when the time of tribulation comes. They’re not weak because they are women. On the contrary, as women they alone have unique abilities, strengths, and duties. They’re not just responsible for themselves, but for two. Themselves and the child within or the child they’re nursing.

And these are not your average, run-of-the-mill days of trouble. No, these tribulation days are so terrible that nothing like them had been experienced since God put people on planet earth. They are unlike anything ever experienced.

Your mind might have drifted into thinking that we’re in those days right now. If you’re like most people, you are experiencing difficulties, trouble, stress, and hopelessness like never before.

Please don’t take this the wrong way. I’m not putting you down or minimizing your pain. But, in the words of Bachman Turner Overdrive[1], “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

The future is not one, great, bright, and beautiful party where all is sunshine and rose peddles. This tribulation, this great tribulation is going to be worse than you can possibly imagine.

Yes, there’s a bright, beautiful eternal future for all who look at life from God’s perspective. They see their brokenness and sin as self-inflicted wounds that they cannot heal.

And God doesn’t just abandon them, crushing them out of existence, or pummeling them with punishment just to hurt them. No, he steps in, pays the price and reaches out to us in and through his son, Jesus. As a person, Jesus experienced all the same pain and temptations, yet never turned away from his Heavenly Father. As God, he personally laid down his life, paying to make a way back to God.

The option open to us is whether or not to accept this kindness. This offer of God who’s reaching down from heaven to us. He paid the price. He’s done all the heavy lifting. But we still have to accept his hand, his kindness, his gift.

I remember the very first time I heard this. He offered to take my days of distress and makes them new. My reaction was two-fold.

· First, are you kidding? What do I have to do to earn it? I was told that it was there for me to receive and that seemed too good to be true.

· Second, how could anyone not accept God’s gift of forgiveness, restoration, and reunion?

I hope you have the same reaction. He’s willing to take all your days of distress and make them new. How can we not run to him?



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