“That day will assault everyone,” says the Lord (Luke 21:35).
The Lord Jesus is saying that the day of judgment will assault everyone.
But let’s ask ourselves this question: Do the days already assault us now?
Does the alarm clock make an unwelcome sound? Does the morning news assault me? Is pulling out into traffic like being assaulted? Am I thoroughly pummeled by mid-morning?
An assault leaves the victim stunned, paralyzed, dazed, passive. An assault knocks the wind out of you, sucks the energy out of you, bewilders you. An assault can make a person lose his way, lose track of where he was headed. Immediately after an assault, it is impossible to focus on one’s goals; it is impossible to focus on the future. There is just pain and confusion.
The roughest part of everyday life can be boredom. The assault can be the oppression of deadening routine. Life comes at you slow—so slow that it hurts with a dull pain, like after a body blow.
What happens when even the special, fun things feel old? Like when you don’t feel like doing any daggone Christmas shopping?
“That day will assault everyone.”
The Lord says His day will assault us. Judgment Day will assault us. But we’ve got to keep trying to understand the assault of everyday life first.
In a war, when an army launches an assault on an enemy city, the important thing is to make the assault relentless. Day in and day out, beat them down.
The citizens might put up a brave defense the first day, or the first week—or even for months. Maybe even for years, like in St. Petersburg, Russia, during World War II. But the courage won’t last forever. If the assault is relentless, the defenders will give up eventually.
Let’s say I am subject to the relentless assault of an unwelcome alarm clock going off one day after another, and there is no snap, crackle, or pop in my Rice Krispies any more. What am I about to surrender? What am I going to give up–when my will finally cracks? The assault of deadening routine is an attack on the thing I need the most: my sense of wonder.
“Lift up your heads and see,” says the Lord (Luke 21:28).
The Lord told us He is coming with an assault. But He gave us a nice warning. He does not intend to blindside us like a free-safety barreling down on us at mid-field. “Lift up your heads,” He says.
Look around. The world is full of amazing things. There are beautiful surprises around every corner. Just when I was getting ready to surrender—just when I was bowing my head under the assault of monotony—just then the Lord says, Lift up your head. Lift up your head. And there He is, coming to our aid with gracious love. God is coming to help us.
Now, it is true that when the Lord’s Day comes, it will be a withering, all-out assault. It will make the siege of Baghdad look like tiddly-winks. It will make the fire-bombing of Dresden look like a garden party.
When everything is said and done, the Lord will assault us relentlessly with the ultimate weapon: the Truth. The truth about absolutely everything we have ever said or done, or not said or not done, or thought or not thought or half-thought. He will wield this truth like a barrage of ordinance.
He will rain down justice like hailstones the size of bowling balls. They will come pounding down.
One ten-pound ball for every Sunday I missed Mass for no good reason. A twelve pounder for every little lie. A thirteen pounder for every time I thought of something kind to do for somebody but was too lazy to do it. Fifteen pounder for every meanness. Fifteen for every time I skipped daily prayers. Etc, etc. This hailstorm of bowling balls is going to be brutal.
But: He has warned us. He has told us what to do. He has told us how to deal with the inevitable assault.
Lift up your heads and see your redemption:
Here is the beauty, joy, and newness of the world. Here is the fresh start for everything. Here is the way to peace on the great and terrible day of judgment.
Let us look up and behold the glory of this love. Let us fall down at His feet and confess our sins so that they can be washed away in His Precious Blood.
Then we can lift up our heads and see the coming of God.