The old couple sat down with a large photo album. Page by page, they relived their memories. There they were on their first date. He was shy and awkward; she had a mischievous smile. Then came a few wedding pictures, so young, so innocent. The old woman choked back a sob and her husband wiped off the tear coursing down his cheek as they looked at the pictures of their children growing up. A tragic accident had taken the life of their third child; their precious daughter. They relived the awful memories of that fateful phone call and the hopelessness they felt. After that, they struggled in their marriage for awhile. They were both lonely, longing for the comfort they each needed to receive, but neither seemed able to give. They weathered that hard season, their love rekindled and they smiled as they looked at the family around them on their 50th Wedding Anniversary. All in all, the years had been good and they were grateful.
Celebration. Desolation. Life is full of both in this broken world. Long relationships, like the one that old couple enjoyed, are but a thumbnail of the earth's march through history. From the beginning, when forbidden fruit ushered our first parents out of a Garden, humankind has been in an ongoing love-hate relationship with our Creator. Some eras have been buoyed by the warmth and intimacy for which we were designed. Others have been as full of friction as an electrical storm on a summer day.
All of Scripture lends credence to the reality that the biggest Storm is ahead. By the time it is over, the earth as we know it will have come to an end. Those final moments will be met with celebration by some and desolation by others, depending on which side they have choosen as the last grains drop through the hourglass. Which side will you be on? Are you sure that you are ready?
Joel was an Old Testament prophet who lived in the days of King Joash, a man who ascended to the throne at ripe age of seven. His nation was in turmoil. God used that desolate time to craft a message to Joel: "Get ready; the End of Days is not far off!" 2,800 years later, we still echo that message. Are we really near the end? We are certainly almost three millennia nearer than Joel was! The larger (and much more important) question is, "Will that day be one of celebration for you? Or desolation?"