Thursday, December 1 2022 - 11:02 PM
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Trauma of Deliverance

“There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:25-28, NLT).

Salvation and Trauma

The idea that salvation is a clean, precise operation doesn’t square with reality. In truth, it is messy, drawn out, and risky. Consider the trauma that Israel went through as they were being “delivered” from Egypt—with the male Hebrew babies being killed by Pharaoh, Moses being protected, then having to flee to the desert for 40 years. When Moses finally appeared in Egypt with his request for Israel’s freedom to worship, Pharaoh mocked him and increased the burdens of the Hebrew workers. Then the Israelites complained that Moses was complicating their lives with his “deliverance” propaganda and that he should leave them alone. The plagues were impressive and devastating to the Egyptians which caused a great deal of emotional and psychological trauma. The exodus was a long, drawn-out series of events. It didn’t happen overnight.

Consider the trauma that accompanied Jesus’ birth, childhood, and ministry, including what Joseph and Mary went through, with Herod killing all the male babies in Bethlehem to try and exterminate the predicted Messiah. Then Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt, hiding Jesus until Herod died. Nothing was easy about the efforts required to bring salvation to the world.

What About Today?

The prophetic events unfolding now should not be imagined as orderly and easily grasped by the faithful. Deliverance requires faith because it can be questioned and missed. God’s actions do not remove all possibility of doubt. There is plenty of wiggle room for those who choose not to believe.

Some misread prophetic fulfillment because it doesn’t look like they imagined it would. They don’t believe negative consequences can come from Christians being in charge of the government because, in their view, the Christians are the “good guys.”

Many Evangelicals believe we can solve society’s problems by doing away with abortion, homosexuality, liberal politics, and pluralism. They want to “sanitize” culture through righteous legislation. Thus they are critical of those who don’t view the world as they do.

“When men indulge this accusing spirit, they are not satisfied with pointing out what they suppose to be a defect in their brother. If milder means fail of making him do what they think ought to be done, they will resort to compulsion. Just as far as lies in their power they will force men to comply with their ideas of what is right. This is what the Jews did in the days of Christ and what the church has done ever since whenever she has lost the grace of Christ. Finding herself destitute of the power of love, she has reached out for the strong arm of the state to enforce her dogmas and execute her decrees. Here is the secret of all religious laws that have ever been enacted, and the secret of all persecution from the days of Abel to our own time” (Mount of Blessing, p. 126).

The Last Days

According to the apostle Paul, there will be more trauma, and things will get worse before they get better. And mind you, the text below describes people who claim to be “Christian.” This is true because he says, “They will act religious…”

“In the last days there will be very difficult times. For people [professed Christians] will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They’ll consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They’ll be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They’ll act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5, NLT)

Even though it may seem like the world is falling apart, God is still in control!

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am” (John 14:1-3, NLT).

If you liked this, you might also like Why I’m Not a Christian | The End of the World 

Rich DuBose writes from Northern California.

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About Rich DuBose

Rich DuBose

is director of Church Support Services for the Pacific Union Conference.

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