With these words Jesus turned the entire world, and even history itself, upside down. Once these words were uttered all of the wisdom of the world’s conventional commentators were forever rendered obsolete. No longer would our earthly experience be business as usual. No! With these words our normal understanding of why and how things happen were overruled by the infinite insight of the eternal Lord.
“Now, when these things begin to happen…” If you will peruse the preceding verses of this chapter you will see that the calm has been replaced by the storm. The Lord’s words present us with a picture of crises and chaos, of unbelievably formidable forces reaping havoc on the dreams and lives of good men. There is the flash of lightening and the crash of thunder as nation rises against nation, and kingdom comes against kingdom. It is a catalog of horror and heartache: earthquakes, famines, plagues, terrible signs and sights from heaven, persecutions, martyrdoms. The whole world has gone crazy, resulting Jesus says, with “men’s hearts failing them for fear as a result of those things that are coming to the earth.”
But, when these horrible, terrible things begin to come to pass; when all you can do is helplessly watch the world spin out of control; when things are so bad that man’s conscience recoils in fear and revulsion; when violence rises like an unbearable tide; when your mind is dazed and your heart is discouraged – that’s when Jesus said, “Lift up your head!”
Oh Christian! When it seems that it can’t get any worse, and all hope is gone don’t look down in discouragement or despair. You’re hope is not in this present world or those who inhabit it. Your hope comes from above!
Grasp these truly revolutionary words. Jesus says that in your hours of greatest heartbreak can come your greatest breakthrough. The crises that cause a natural man to deny God are the very things that cause the spiritual man to encounter a new revelation of Him. That which shakes one man’s faith actually serves to strengthen another’s.
When these sorts of terrible things come your way and all of life’s paths are darkened with despair, when you can scarcely see the ground beneath your feet and the terrors of night have become a reality, when your soul is bent over with the burden of a bitter load and the concerns of this world have robbed you of your strength – lift up your head! Look up! Heaven sees all these things from an entirely different vantage point. Don’t stumble around in the dark, look up to the Light! Don’t withdraw or retreat, reach up for the hand of the Lord! Don’t let your heart fail for fear, trust Him! Your redemption draws near!