It is interesting to see how serious people were of the doomsday predictions of the self-proclaimed prophet Harold Camping, the 89 years old who led millions of followers to take drastic actions as they waited for the rapture to happen over the weekend. Since last week, a lot of my students had been talking about the rapture, and how we were all going to die on May 21st, 2011. A lot of the confusions that people have about the capacity for an individual to predict the rapture come from mere ignorance and the fact that we humans generally yearn to control. This man was essentially trying to play God, and those people who trusted in his message are equally control-crazed. If one simply reads his or her bible, it will be apparent that no man or woman, not even the angels in heaven, can make such predictions as this man has tried on several occasions.
Indeed, what we humans need to do is simply live our lives the best way we can, and hope that how we choose to live our lives pleases God enough that when The Son of Man returns, we will be worthy to enter His throne with Him. As I was speaking with some of my students, and as I was assigning homework assignment for the week, some said, “What’s the point, we are all going to go through rapture and die.” I simply told them that I’d see them on Monday. I also reminded (as I often do) them that they never had to fear anything or anyone as long as they live their lives right: being a good son or daughter, a good sibling, a decent, law-abiding citizen, and an overall good person. Regardless of their religious beliefs, I tell them that their actions have to match those that they want to see in others. This sort of limited discussion is what I detest about public schools because I can’t have extensive discussion about The Bible or any such text else I’d be branded as mixing church with state.
Coming back to the rapture, it is no surprise that the prediction failed to occur. Looking back to the turn of this century, many people believed that there wouldn’t be the year 2000; 1999 was supposed to be an end of the millennium and of our time. Although the rapture has failed (again) on May 21st, I won’t be surprised that there are people who are still worried about the next predicted doomsday: December 21, 2012. It really is of no use to panic and take rash actions that may come back to hurt you, as in the case of a man who went on a spending spree and wasted $140,000 of credit expenses because he believed in May 21st rapture. Taking such an action will only cause you misery, especially if you wake up the very next day with everything normal minus your wallet. I say this, simply believe that what the scripture says in the book of Mathew Chapter 24 verses 36-44 is sufficient :
36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, [ a ] but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. 42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
This is powerful; the coming of the Son of Man is compared to the coming of a thief. No one knows when a thief will come to rob his or her property, else they will indeed ‘Ëœkeep watch.’ But since none of us knows when He will come, the best that we can do is be ready for anything; live life to the fullest and take each day as possibly the last day. I know personally that this is a challenge; I’m always telling myself that I will make each day count like it’s my last, but with work, children, family, friends, and all the responsibilities in-between, it’s a challenge to not worry about tomorrow. What helps me stay calm is the fact that I try to give my best each day, and not worry about what I don’t have control over.
So, my brothers and sisters in Christ do not worry or fear! Trust in the Lord and live a fear-free life. As Neale Donald Walsch once said, “FEAR is an acronym in the English Language for False Evidence Appearing Real.” Thus, do not fret over something that is not real or beyond your control; it’s not real that human beings have the ability to predict when the world will end. What you have control over is how you conduct yourself on a daily basis in your interactions with others (love thy neighbor as thyself!). If the world shall end tomorrow, at least you should feel that you had lived a good life, come what may! Remain strong in His love!