The Day of Reckoning
For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God . . . the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them . . . 1 Thessalonians 4:16 – 5:3
When I first began abusing pain medications, I told myself it was a one-time thing. Then, just one more, became a thousand more. Eventually, it simply became my “normal life”. I did live in fear of discovery, but because I was able to keep it a secret for so long, I became confident that I could continue. Addiction was routine. I was miserable, but I also knew that change would be quite painful. I believed I’d have to sober up someday, but someday was so far off. In the moment of each day, I thought that I could maintain my drug-addicted life indefinitely.
My day of reckoning eventually came though, and it was cataclysmic. My life imploded as everything changed in a matter of a few hours. I lost my job. I nearly lost my family. My career was potentially over, and I was on my way to treatment. I thought I could continue using as long as I wanted, but I was terribly mistaken. Life changed radically in an instant as my old way of living ended abruptly.
This is similar to the sentiment conveyed by Paul in today’s passage. In it, he described the return of Christ. He said that many will believe that life will simply go on as it always had, saying, “There is peace and security”. They are all wrong though. According to Paul, we live in a world that will not continue as it always has. One day, things will radically and abruptly change.
This is hard for me to imagine, and I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. One of the takeaways of the Covid-19 pandemic for me though, is how fast everything can change. If you’d have described the chaos Covid-19 would cause in my daily life even a week before it happened, I wouldn’t have believed you. Our existence is more fragile than I like to think, and our lives can be changed forever in a very short amount of time.
We cannot prepare for every possible future calamity. Paul taught though, that we can prepare for eternity. Our lives will not continue to go on as they always have. Eventually, one way or another, our day of reckoning will come as we step into eternity. The question we each must answer is, Are we prepared for what comes next?