40 years ago next week, the Sunday comics carried a "Peanuts" edition in which Charlie Brown was watching a golf tournament and the announcer said, "He's down to the last putt...there's no tomorrow!" Sally walked in during that last phrase, then ran out screaming, "There's no tomorrow! There's no tomorrow!" (View this classic here.)
For some crazy reason, that one comic edition has stayed with me all these years, causing an occasional story and frequent laughter on my part. The idea of "Judgment Day" has been the subject of innumerable books, movies and jokes. In reality, though, Judgment Day will be no laughing matter. If you think the power clash that results from a warm front colliding with a cold front is a big, stormy event, it will pale next to the ultimate clash between light and darkness.
Last week we admitted that darkness pushes back. Any time the power of God begins to light up a person or a church or a region, it gets the attention of the powers of darkness. Simon Peter wrote, "Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you." (1 Peter 4:12 NLT) Peter had discovered up close and personal that following Jesus can result in great hardship at the hands of a dark enemy who is "taking names."
Those who choose to reflect the light of Christ, though, must remember that the darkness won't gain the final victory. The sunrise every morning is a reminder that light ultimately triumphs over darkness. That judgment day clash will be massive and deadly, followed by the reality: "There's no tomorrow!" When that happens, all the jokes and snide comments will be lost in the cacophonous cries of those who aren't ready. For them, "no tomorrow" will be final and hopeless.
Joel, like other Old Testament prophets, described what he saw. He didn't always know if his visions would take place right away or in some far-off century. In the end, both are true. Most prophecies have been fulfilled in ways large or small over and over again in preparation for the final, cataclysmic end of this world. On that day, darkness will be complete and permanent for those who walk in darkness. Light will be eternal for those who have chosen Him who said, "I am the light of the world."