We all witnessed this response firsthand. People everywhere were gripped with intense, paralyzing fear and panic. You could see it deeply etched on every face. You could hear it in the voices. You could feel it in the pit of your stomach. We all kept wondering, What's next? Where will the terror strike next? A deep sense of fear and trepidation about the future overtook people.
All of this was design. Fear, anxiety, disruption, and terror were the stated goals of the terrorists. That's what they're all about-terror. After the attacks, Osama bin Laden said, "America has been filled with horror from north to south and east to west, and thanks be to God."
The cover of Time on October 22, 2001, revealed the fragile psyche of the wounded nation. "The Fear Factor: Anthrax letters. FBI warnings. Bin Laden's videotapes. Bombarded threats real and imagined, a nation on edge asks, What's next?"
Just between September 7 and 28, 2001, prescriptions for antianxiety drugs nationwide increased 8.6 percent. People desperately want some kind of assurance that everything is going to be okay. We want some good news. We want to hear that this is all a bad dream.
Good news, Bad news
The Bible contains the ultimate Good News. In the midst of the pessimism, gloom, and frustration of this present hour, there is one great beacon of hope: the promise of Jesus Christ. "`If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also'" (John 14:3).
This promise assures us that all who have received Jesus Christ as their personal Savior from sin will spend eternity with the Lord in heaven. And not only that, but all believers in Christ will be rescued the Lord (raptured) from the coming Tribulation. So we can say emphatically that for those who know the Lord the best is yet to come.
But the Bible also contains some very bad news. Before Jesus returns to earth at His second coming, things are going to get bad-really bad. I wish I could say that everything is going to be okay, that everything will get better and better until Jesus comes. But the Bible says that the worst is yet to come for planet earth.
Before we get into the specifics of how current events in our world today fit into God's plan for the ages, let's look at Jesus' general forecast for the future.
Excerpted from WHAT ON EARTH IS GOING ON? by MARK HITCHCOCK Copyright © 2002 by Mark Hitchcock
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.