This picture (contributed by Trinity Baptist Church, Alor Setar) shows a scene
after the tidal waves hit Kuala Muda, Kedah.
In mid-December 2004, massive floods submerged large sections of the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Some lives were lost and many people were evacuated.
Then the tsunami that resulted from the earthquake caused many more lives to be lost. Yet the damage inflicted on our shores pale in comparison to the devastation seen in countries such as Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand, to name but a few. No one in the way of the waves was spared their impact. At last count, more than 150,000 had lost their lives.
Every day of our lives is potentially our last day on earth. I wonder what went through the minds of the thousands upon thousands as they saw the tidal waves approaching and as the waves crashed over them. The things they wanted to do but now would not have time for. The things they wanted to make right but did not get down to doing them.
Perhaps some intended to seek God some day but it was now too late. Were there Christians among those who perished who wanted to serve God, but procrastinated? Those who were overwhelmed did not expect the waves of death, but the waves came anyway.
This devastating occurrence, coupled with other destructive events around the world, is also a grim reminder of Jesus’ soon return.
In response to a question to His disciples concerning signs of His second coming, Jesus said, “… many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains” (Matt. 24:3–8).
How then should we live in the light of life’s uncertainties and Jesus’ soon return? Peter tells us how. He said, “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Peter 4:7–11).
Let us therefore:
- Live seriously and soberly – having a clear mind understanding of God’s purposes and plans, always being self-disciplined, self-controlled (vs. 7).
- Live watching and praying – being alert and awake, not just only bringing prayer requests before Him but staying in close communion with the Lord by meditating on His Word (vs. 7). The Psalmist says, “ … his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers (Psalm 1:2–3).
- Live with fervent love – exerting your love to the utmost degree, just like an athlete in a race. Seek to demonstrate agape love. Love even your enemies and forgive, because love forgives (vs.8).
- Live showing hospitality without grumbling – show acceptance, love and kindness. Be gentle and sincere. As you have opportunity, do good to all, especially those in the Body of Christ (vs. 9).
- Live using the gifts God has given to you – both natural abilities such as music, art etc. as well as God-given spiritual gifts and abilities such as teaching, preaching, prophecy and other godly graces. Let us serve one another with these gifts (vs. 10–11).
This year, determine to be “Good stewards of the manifold grace of God. “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).