A Hymn for Times of Trouble and Persecution
Brethren, the end is near,
Our Lord shall soon appear:
These the days of vengeance be,
Rumored ills the land distress;
Wars on wars ye hear and see,
Ushering in the Prince of Peace.
His judgments are abroad,
Forerunners of our God;
Nation against nation fights,
Kingdoms against kingdoms rise;
Signs above, and fearful sights,
Speak the anger of the skies.
The powers of Heaven He shakes;
Earth to her center quakes;
Famine shows her meager face;
Pestilence stalks close behind;
Woes surround the sinful race;
Wrath abides on all mankind.
The nations are distressed,
The wicked cannot rest;
No, in sin they sleep no more,
Tossed with sad perplexity;
Swell the waves, and work, and roar,
Men are like the troubled sea.
Terror their heart assails,
Their heart through terror fails;
Fails, o’erwhelmed with huge dismay,
Looking for the plagues to come,
Shrinking from their evil day,
Fainting at their instant doom.
But ye that fear the Lord,
Fear neither plague nor sword;
Jesus bids your care depart,
Ye in Jesus’ love are blest;
Sprinkled is your peaceful heart:
Now expect the perfect rest.
These threatening clouds look through,
Good they portend to you:
Lift your heads, with joy look up,
Find your full redemption near;
See your soul’s desire and hope,
See your glorious Lord appear.
His near approach ye know,
Treated like Him below;
This the Word that Jesus said,
Now your Master’s lot ye find,
Mocked, rejected and betrayed,
Hated now by all mankind.
In calm and quiet peace
Your patient souls possess;
God hath kept your innocence,
God shall still His own defend;
Rest in Him, your sure defense,
Suffer on, and wait the end.
His mercy’s wings are spread,
To guard your naked head;
None can hurt you now, or grieve,
Hated though ye be by all:
No, without your Saviour’s leave,
Not one sacred hair shall fall.
Charles Wesley (1707–1788)
Charles Wesley a hymn writer, a poet and a man of God. His hymn above, although very poetic of the time in which Charles lived, if you know your Bible, you can see speaks of the times of peril and persecution in which we find ourselves today. It has been said that Charles’ final words were, “Jesus, my only hope thou art, Strength of my failing flesh and heart; O could I catch a smile from thee, And drop into eternity!” Words that I wish could be on the lips of all of us going forward.
My intention is not to be a pessimist or the voice of doom, but we are on the doorstep of change. I only want to bring to your attention that the phrase “wars and rumours of wars” is upon us.
You’ve only to look around the world to see that what Jesus said in Matthew 24:6-8, ‘You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.”, is happening today.
To put it into some perspective, we have in the West, Russia against the Ukraine. In the East, Taiwan and China. And most recent in the Middle East we have Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. “Wars and rumours of wars”.
We hear on the news about famines and floods, earthquakes and fires such as we have experienced over the year. Such devastation ever more increasing. Some would have you believe and blame it on climate change. “Famines and earthquakes in various places”.
If you want to look at another aspect of war (of sorts), look at the lawlessness and violence and killings across the United States and Canada and around the world. You have nation against nation and brother against brother. Matthew 24:10,12, “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.” “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
But it doesn’t have to be this way for any of us. For there is a way out from all the angst. Jesus made it clear in John 10:10, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” James 4:14 (NIV) says, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
Wars and trouble can rage all around us but when we belong to Jesus and live a life of joy and peace with Him, we need not be anxious for anything. I don’t feel anxious or fearful because I know God is in control. I read my Bible and it tells me not to fret, as these things must happen – my nose is in my Bible and my eyes are on the news – I am at peace. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. When we belong to Jesus, we will be removed from the tribulations to come, as what we see now is nothing to what will happen when we, Christians, are removed from this earth. Are you ready?
If you do not know Jesus and would like Him in your life, just pray this little prayer with an open heart and invite Him in. Be confident that a life in Christ is a life worth living, today and every day until He returns to take you home.