“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.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations formy name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.
And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.
But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:6-14)
I don’t think it’s any coincidence that this passage in Matthew just “happened” to be a part of my Bible reading plan this week. As we hear real, live reports of war in our world, it is a great comfort to know that God is in control and no matter what happens, in the end He is the victor.
Meanwhile, I pray for our brother and sisters who must suffer and rise to challenges that I have never dreamed of, living in the sobering reality that this world will never know true, lasting peace until Jesus is King.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I’d like to say that these pussy willows were officially spotted on February 18th, which is some kind of crazy record in my personal experience. (I just didn’t get around to photographing them until now.) I guess that February thaw played a bit of a trick on the willows this year, which honestly makes this post rather anticlimactic. After all, signs of spring in February seem far too premature to be very exciting.
And yet—I can’t get away from the fact that pussy willows remain that quintessential sign of the spring’s eventual arrival. When we get that inevitable snowstorm in a week or so, and the thermometer drops back down into the single digits, I will remember these. Whether we have an early spring, or whether it waits until the average time—or even if it teases us and shows up late—it will surely come.And so, my husband reminded us this morning in church, will Christ. And, interestingly, the signs of springtime are exactly the metaphor used in Scripture to parallel the signs that we can watch for to know that His coming is near.
“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its branches become tender and sprout leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that He is near, right at the door.” (Matthew 24:32-33)
Perhaps you were not expecting pussy willows at this time of year, and didn’t see them. Well, it’s not the end of the world if you didn’t.
But don’t miss the signs of His coming because you weren’t expecting them. That will be the end of the world.
“Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.“ (Matthew 24:42)
To read about what those signs of Christ’s coming will be, read Matthew 24—and to see pussy willow posts from past springs, see here and here.