As the world was emerging from the COVID pandemic and lockdowns, it was suddenly hit with another crisis, as Russian President, Vladimir Putin, invaded Ukraine.
And on top of this, people are now taking financial hits by an unprecedented rise in prices for food and gas (see Revelation 6:6).
In many ways, this sudden series of events fits the metaphor that Jesus used to describe the initial stages of the end times, which Jesus likened to the birth pangs that a woman experiences prior to giving birth (Matthew 24:8).
The birth pangs are deliberate, unstoppable, one after another, gradually increasing in speed and intensity.
One of those birth pangs that Christ warned about was war, and curiously it was on par with ‘rumours of war,’ related, but in its own separate category:
“You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.” (Matthew 24:6 NIV)
Could we classify Vladimir Putin’s threat of using nuclear weapons during his invasion of Ukraine as one of those rumors, as it dramatically heightens our fear about what is happening in Europe?
But notice how Jesus added that we are not to be alarmed because these events are simply marking the beginning stages of the end times.
The Greek word for alarmed ‘throeó’ is a strong word for fear, closer to terror, as part of its meaning includes crying out because you are so scared.
It involves the idea of being ‘troubled in mind,’ ‘unsettled,’ ‘disturbed’, ‘alarmed,’ ‘agitated,’ and ‘startled.’
As we look at this word, it primarily implies that we should not allow our emotions to get out of control as we watch these events unfold.
And it’s advice that believers need to start heeding.
According to a recent survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA), these series of events are having a compounding effect and causing unprecedented levels of stress among Americans.
The APA found in its survey entitled, “Stress in America”, conducted in mid-February that:
- 87% of Americans were feeling what they described as “significant stress” over the rising prices
- 87% were feeling the mental fallout and stress from the previous two years of the COVID pandemic and lockdowns.
- 84% described the events unfolding in Europe as ‘terrifying’
In a follow-up survey in the first week of March, after Putin invaded Ukraine, APA discovered that 69% of Americans are fearful the Russian invasion could lead to nuclear war.
In an interview with NBC, APA psychologist, Dr. Lynn Bufka, described the levels of stress in America over the same social and political issues as unique.
“We don’t usually see 80% of people telling us that a particular stressor is stressful for that many individuals,” Bufka said.
Jesus warned that people’s fear or foreboding of these events taking place in the end times will even cause some to faint (Luke 21:26)
As believers, our response needs to be different. We need to choose to believe and purposely allow our faith to control our emotions because these events are predicted and expected.
If we have entered the end times, God is in control.