Why I Hate To Hear Older People Say We’re Living In The Last Days
As a young girl, I was always up under my grandmother. Listening to her stories, laughing at her jokes, watching television with her. She was one of my favorite people in the world and I learned a lot from her, like characteristics to avoid in men, how to read people, how to cherish the relationship I had with my sister, etc. All those lessons I would grow to appreciate. But the one that stood out the most to me as a child was that death was imminent. In fact, death could come at any time.
I would say, “Ok grandma, I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” And she’d say, wistfully, in a Jamaican accent, “God spare meh life.” By the time I was 7 or 8, I must have asked her why she always said that. She told me then and she’d repeat it for the rest of her life that tomorrow wasn’t promised for either her or myself. God could take either one of us at any time. If you can’t tell, my grandmother was the keep it real type. And while she was definitely telling the truth, it wasn’t long before her “God spare meh lives” made me obsessed with the concept of death. I just knew I was going to fall victim to it. And soon. In first and second grade, I would try to think of myself in fifth grade, or as a middle schooler with a locker and I would stop myself, reasoning that I’d likely be dead before any of that happened.
I think by the time I actually did reach middle school, I realized how rare death was for people my age, I slowly started releasing the fear and preoccupation that I would be called home too soon. And reasoned that even if I was going to die before high school, there just wasn’t anything I could do about it. So my best bet was to relax.
But just as I was learning to chill out, other old folk started talking about the last days. “You know we’re living in the last days, right?” “You better be living right because Jesus is coming soon.” “They said that there would be wars and rumors of wars.” And I’ve heard something about these wars taking place on holy ground. And seeing as how all three, major world religions were founded in the Middle East, I would certainly say that region of the world, where Jesus literally walked, qualifies as holy ground. And there have been wars there for quite some time now.
Most recently, with all the evil we’ve been witnessing in the world from the government sanctioned killing of innocent Black men, to the shooting of the police officers in Dallas (whoever was responsible for that), the Orlando gay nightclub shooting, the civil war in South Sudan, the popularity of Donald Trump and the recent terrorist attacks in Nice, France, it’s clear to see that something is going on.
And if you ask some folk these events are a sign of the times. Proof that we’re living in the last days, that Jesus is coming soon.
Interestingly enough the people who always say this are older. They’ve lived their lives, they’ve fallen in love, accomplished or given up on their dreams, they’ve raised their children to adulthood and would be completely cool with dying at any given moment. They’ve done what they needed to do and have said what they needed to say. So the end of the days, the sign of the times, being called up to meet Jesus in the air doesn’t sound all that bad…to them.
But for someone in their late twenties, who still has career and life goals to meet, the idea of the end of the earth or Jesus coming back right now is…not all that appealing. In fact, according to what’s going to happen before his return, it’s quite scary. And while I feel like I have a good chance of going with Him, I would much rather be dead by the time all that comes to pass. It sounds like it’s going to be quite a mess. I’m sure my thoughts on the matter don’t mean all that much in God’s plan. Still, there are some things I want to do on this side of heaven first.
So, when I hear the old folks ask me “You know we’re living in the last days, right?” I want to say “I actually hope we’re not. I have more to do.” If I were being really honest with them, I’d ask, “I wonder if you would say that if you were still in your twenties and not your sixties, seventies or eighties.”
At the end of the day, I know that what God has for us in Heaven is going to be better than anything I’ve ever experienced or can imagine. Still, I know He created us and placed us on this flawed earth for a reason as well. And I want to fully appreciate everything I’m supposed to see and do here too.
I remember, years ago, telling my father about my concerns, about the comments of my elders and their predictions about Jesus’ return; and he, always with a comforting word, said “People have been saying we’re living in the last days for 2,000 years.”