Chapter 3: Signs of the Times
TEXT: Matthew 16:1-3; 24:3-28, 32-34; 2 Timothy 3:1-5
Distressing headlines point to the Lord’s soon return.
A light tremor was the only warning the boys had. The next moment Logan and Seth staggered against the counter in the sporting goods store. The floor shook beneath their feet as though they were on a roller coaster.
Large pieces of glass flew in every direction as the plate-glass window beside them shattered. A low rumble was punctuated by screams of fright.
“Let’s get out of here!” Seth shoved Logan in the direction of the wildly swinging door. The boys plunged toward the entrance, joined in seconds by terrified people pushing their way onto the street.
They could hear the crash of sporting equipment falling from the display shelves behind them as they reached the sidewalk. Then, as suddenly as it began, the earthquake stopped.
For a brief moment an awful stillness seemed to hang in the air, almost as if the universe were holding its breath. Then confusion took over as those standing on the sidewalk struggled to grasp what had happened. What would happen next?
“You okay, Seth?” Logan grabbed his older brother’s arm. Seth’s face was white, but he tried hard to appear calm. “I’m fine, Logan, but it’s a lucky thing we weren’t standing any closer to that window! That glass really flew!”
Logan took a deep breath and looked around him, almost in a daze. Then he said, “We’d better get home and check out what happened there.”
The next morning, after damage around the house was cleaned up and things restored to order, Logan grabbed his iPad and checked the news. The headlines blazed: “Earthquake Brings Widespread Damage.”
“Wow, look at this, Dad!” said Seth after a moment. “It registered 7.1 on the Richter scale. That’s really something!”
“All I can say is I hope this was my first and last experience of this type!” his dad commented. “Yesterday’s events were about enough for an old man like me.”
“Aw, Dad,” said Seth with a disgusted look at his father. “I thought it was pretty exciting, myself.”
The family sat together at the table in silence, listening as Seth continued reading the headlines.
“‘U.S. Launches Airstrikes against ISIS in Libya,’” he read on the next page. “‘Iran Nuclear Deal Brings Fears of New Arms Race.’” He tapped on another news site, “‘Deadly Ebola Virus on the Move in Africa.’ ‘India Drought: 330 Million People Affected,’” he sighed. “‘Paris Terrorist Attack: 128 Dead.’”
“Not much in the way of good news, is there?” said Logan, as he spread another piece of toast with strawberry jam. “Sounds like all that is going on is war, trouble, and disaster. And today, even our own city is making national news.” He gulped down a couple of bites, and then looked up again. “Was it like this when you were a kid, Dad?”
His dad looked thoughtful. “I really don’t believe it was,” he answered slowly. “We had our own share of troubles, but it does seem as though things are getting worse.” He paused for a moment. “Of course, the Bible tells us that this is the way it is going to be just before the Lord comes back.”
Seth gave a groan. “Oh, Dad, you’re always preaching.” He shoved his chair away from the table and left the room.
Logan caught the troubled look exchanged between his parents. “Don’t worry, Seth’s still upset—maybe this earthquake has gotten through to him about his needing to get saved. I’ll try to talk to him later when he cools off a little.”