Periodically, things occur in this broken world that make us re-think our Christianity. Or at least how a Christian should respond to it! One of those things occurred recently when militant Muslims in Egypt and other places stormed our embassies killing Americans inside. When things like this occur, I receive sincere emails from friends and total strangers wondering if all Muslims are out to attack Americans and if I think the rapid growth of Islam or rise of militant Muslims is a sign of the end times?
Re:the first question I reply: "I do not know these militant Muslims. But I do know Imam Farooq at the Perrysburg Mosque (the big one next to I-75), Mohamed Elnahal our contact in the mosque next door to our church, and the books / podcasts / writings of Hamza Yusuf (Google him or listen in iTunes). These voices represent to me the vast majority of moderate, freedom loving, peaceful Muslims not the extremists in the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt."
But what if they burn our embassy? Isn't that a sign of the end times? Jesus said in Matthew 24:8 that a bunch of bad stuff would increase in severity and frequency before Jesus comes again "like a woman in labor." And so in that sense, any escalation of violence and wickedness could be a sign of the times that can turn the hearts and minds of people to trust and depend on God. Or, like Pharoah, the same signs can harden our hearts as we cultivate anger and plot our revenge.
But we don't have to keep track of who is doing the most evil. Why? Because we will wear ourselves out! It's gonna get worse before it gets better. But also because focusing on Jesus is so much better! Even though the wisest among us only know "in part" (1 Corinthians 13:12), the parts we do know encourage us! Jesus promises to be with us to the very end of the earth (Matthew
28:20). And that God (not us) will judge those who shed the blood of His people
(Revelation 16:6). Things aren't good right now in many places on earth. But one day, they will get better. Because the
Gospel will go to the whole world (Matthew 24:14). And the one who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 24:13).