Binh stared at his car and shook his head. A week ago his clothes washer had stopped working and needed major, expensive repairs. Those repairs had drained his bank account. Now, his car had stopped running. The mechanic said that it would take $500.00 to fix it. “Where was he going to get the money,” he thought to himself. He needed his car for work. “Shoot!” Binh muttered, “Things just go from bad to worse.” As Binh struggled with his monthly budget he decided how he would cut down on expenses in other areas so that he could pay for the repairs.
When Jesus shared with his disciples what would happen in the future, in his litany of events things went from bad to worse. The worst event was the desolating sacrilege. We’re not sure what Jesus meant by the term “desolating sacrilege.” In 1 Maccabees, a book in the sacred writings called the Apocrypha, the term referred to the ruler Antiochus Epiphanes’ blasphemy when he erected his statue in the Jerusalem temple. Jesus may have used the term to refer to the destruction of the Jerusalem temple inn 70 AD by the Roman legions. Whatever Jesus meant with this reference it indicated that the situation had deteriorated. The disciples were instructed to both respond to what was happening and trust in God’s presence and power.
The mark of faith in situations like this is not to sit back and do nothing. Acknowledging that the situation is beyond our control, we can act on what we can control, just as Binh did. At the same time, it is important for us to rest in the assurance of God’s presence and power. The situation may be out of our control, but it is never out of God’s control. Trust in this truth provides us with the courage to live each day with peace and hope as we share God’s love and grace.
“But when you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains; the one on the housetop must not go down or enter the house to take anything away; the one in the field must not turn back to get a coat. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that it may not be in winter. For in those days there will be suffering, such as has not been from the beginning of the creation that God created until now, no, and never will be. And if the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect, whom he chose, he has cut short those days. And if anyone says to you at that time, ‘Look! Here is the Messiah!’ or ‘Look! There he is!’ —do not believe it. False messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. But be alert; I have already told you everything.”