Encouragement for Living in the End of Days
HaShem is my Rock, my Fortress, and my Rescue;, My G-d, my Rock in whom I will take shelter; my Shield, and the Horn of my Salvation, my Stronghold. With praises I call unto HaShem, and I am saved from my enemies. The pains of death encircled me, and torrents of godless men would frighten me. The pains of the grave surrounded me, the snares of death confronted me. In my distress, I would call upon HaShem, and to my G-d I would cry. From His abode He would hear my voice, my cry to Him would reach His ears.
“This world is going to hell in a hand basket”. It was almost 30 years ago, but I remember my mother speaking those words to me as if it were yesterday. She was standing over a sink full of dirty dishes in the outdated and hopelessly cluttered kitchen of her old fashioned house, located on the railroad tracks in a little town in Georgia. The words were not spoken in anger, or even in self-pity, but more as a bewildered lament that the once tightly-woven fabric of her personal world had begun to unravel at Mach I.
Her mother, who had always been the rock of her existence, had recently died a lingering and painful death in a nearby nursing home. Her eldest sister was fighting a losing battle with breast cancer, her beloved older brother had just been diagnosed with lung cancer, and at that moment, my father had recently relapsed back into alcoholism after a two-year rehab-induced sobriety. I was too young and too inexperienced with personal tragedy at that time to be able to offer any effective words of comfort or wisdom, or to truly empathize with what she was feeling. As I look back on it now, having since then experienced grief and loss personally, I’m sure it must have seemed to her that she had been left on her own to deal with the end of the world as she knew it.
Nowadays, in addition to the devastating personal problems to which none of us are immune, we don’t need the Maya Calendar to end to tell us that the world is in deep, deep trouble. The stock market is having heart palpitations that could be symptomatic of a worldwide economical myocardial infarction. Human menace threatens from every direction in the form of the Bildebergers, the Trilateral Commission, Hamas, Hezbollah, Al-Queda, violent and highly organized street gangs, freeway snipers, serial killers, mailbox bombers, enraged postal workers, homicidal high school students and a nuclear-armed Iran. Supernatural forces are gathering against us, at least for those unlucky enough to have been witness to UFO sightings, alien abductions, cattle mutilation, chupacabras, crop circles, phone-in psychics, outright demons posing as rock stars and Satanic Ritual abuse. Scary new diseases surface every so often which prove to be immune to any known type cure; flesh-eating bacteria, hemorrhagic fevers, and new strains of viruses, including the Avian Flu, which threatens within the next few years to cause a global pandemic which could conceivably wipe out a third of the earth’s population and a major portion of our food source. Even the weather has gone haywire, wreaking tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, floods and firestorms with ever-increasing regularity. Acid rain, snow in June, hailstones the size of softballs – it’s as if the pattern of weather we have come to know and count on over the centuries has ceased to exist, and there is no way to predict where these changes may lead or how they could effect the global economy, food supplies or our basic way of life.
Even if you have no personal awareness of the aforementioned current events, don’t ascribe to Conspiracy Theories, and don’t find yourself in need of end times encouragement in the global sense, you have certainly faced some type of personal tribulation or tragedy during your life. If you are dealing with grief and loss, relationship difficulties, inner child issues, infertility, infidelity, lack of self- acceptance, rejection, aging, fears and phobias, emotional problems, or just difficulty keeping the faith in this pagan society, these everyday life issues can often seem like the end of the world.
When I think about where this world is headed, sometimes I want to pull the covers up over my head and ignore the Booger Man that I’m afraid is hiding right under my bed. Maybe once in a while, you, too need a break from the end of the world – a place where you can go and hide out from reality, ignore your problems, and pretend like the world is a safe place and that all people are basically good at heart. Well, this blog probably won’t be that place. If an ostrich could talk, he would probably tell you that hiding your head in the sand just places your backside right where your enemy wants it. Plus, you get sand in your eyes.
You have probably heard it said that true courage is not the absence of fear, but the willingness to face what you are afraid of and deal with it in the best way you can. Just so, I believe that true encouragement does not come from empty platitudes or pretending that problems don’t exist, but from acknowledging that we live in a sinful world in which heartache and fear are often our daily companions. How we deal with these issues is what makes the difference between despair and hope, and I know from personal experience that there is hope to be found in the promises of our Creator to be with us during our times of trial, in submitted and expectant prayer, fasting and personal warfare against the forces of darkness, as well as in knowing that we are not alone in our sorrow. I can’t offer you any easy outs or quick fixes or even the promise of a perfectly said prayer which will reverse your circumstances if you just have enough faith and can figure out the right “Spiritual Mantra” which will coerce the Creator into blessing you and giving you what you want. Some problems have no easy solutions, and there are questions in this life for which there are just no pat answers. And quite frankly, suffering does not denote a lack of faith in your life. The Prophets themselves were men who experienced much sorrow, hardship and persecution in their lives, and yet their words still speak to us today from the pages of the Tanak, offering us comfort, hope and encouragement in our times of greatest need.
Whoever you are, whatever difficult circumstances you find yourself in, I know one thing about you, and that is that HaShem loves you dearly and wants the best for your life. I am by faith a Jew. I believe in the Elohim of Avraham, Yitzhak and Ya’akov and that we are to demonstrate our love and gratitude to Him by obedience to His commandments. However, if Judaism in not your faith, whatever your personal beliefs, you are welcome here, and I hope that you will find something in this blog that eases your burden and gives you hope in the midst of a difficult time, and makes this world a brighter place for you.
HaShem, how numerous are my tormentors. The great rise up against me! The great say of my soul, “There is no salvation for him from G-d. Selah.” But You, HaShem, are a Shield for me, for my soul, and the One Who raises my head. With my voice I call out to HaShem, and He answers me from His Holy Mountain, Selah. I lay down, and slept, yet I awoke, for HaShem supports me. I fear not the myriads of people deployed against me all around. Rise up, HaShem, save me, my G-d, for You struck all my enemies on the cheek. You broke the teeth of the wicked. Salvation is HaShem’s, upon Your people is Your blessing, Selah.