And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
She was very excited for the baby to come, but some of that anticipation was the result of a very difficult final trimester. When her water broke, her heart skipped a beat. She was feeling it all at once – joy, shock and fear. Once she collected herself, she called her sister and made her way to the hospital. Her first contractions soon followed, which startled her again. The pain was severe, but she knew that even stronger contractions would come. Every step along the way to this birth brought a new challenge and a moment of nervousness. However, she knew that every step was necessary to bring her child into the world. She kept reminding herself of her coach’s mantra, that there was nothing to fear and all would pass soon enough.
The picture Jesus paints in these few verses is a rather grim one, and there is a reason why He gives this gentle instruction not to be alarmed. The things which will come certainly will bring fear to many. The scary thing is that the events described here are only the beginning of these labor pains. Frequency and intensity will grow just as a mother’s contractions during natural labor. It will be no different when the times prophesied above become evident. The beauty is that there is glory awaiting once that period of labor gives birth to the return of Jesus Christ and the restoration of all things. The pain is necessary for the reward, but it is not something we should fear. Our eyes must be on the birth we are awaiting. We are to focus on the joy which will follow, just as a natural mother would.
Difficult and frightening times will usher in the coming of our Lord, but those times should excite us because we know of the perfection which will result. What awaits us in the age to come on this Earth and beyond is well worth the painful labor ahead. It may be tempting to see these signs and wonder what is wrong with the world, to think that all of a sudden we are on the verge of destruction. The truth of the matter is that these times must come and should point us not to terror but to Christ. If we are driven to any action at the coming of these signs, let it be that we would focus all the more on spreading the Gospel. Father, give us eyes to see and recognize the signs of the end, and give us hearts which desire to take action and continue leading souls toward You.