Go do a google search on some random thing and I’ll tell you what will happen. That thing will start showing up as advertisements on your Facebook news feed. It will also start showing up as advertisements on web pages you visit. I purchased a couple of dehumidifiers for the church this summer. A friend told me Frigidaire was rated tops in Consumer Reports, so prior to the purchase I was researching that brand. Dehumidifier ads were popping up everywhere. If you haven’t noticed it happening, you’re not paying attention.
Sometimes it just gets freaky, though. Yesterday I was talking with my son Adam. In a passing conversation I mentioned his degree in psychology. While I don’t think he’s interested in going back to school for a master’s degree at this time, I said I didn’t know what kind of master’s programs Frostburg State University offered. It was really just something I mentioned (not harassingly) in a passing conversation. I haven’t done any research about it or thought about it before. Then this morning, by coincidence I guess, an ad shows up in my Facebook news feed about online master’s degrees in psychology – I took a screen shot to show you. If you told me the same story, I would think you did an online search about it and forgot. I know I didn’t. And before I bore you about this or make you think I’m a conspiracy theorist prepper (unless it’s too late) let me tell you what all this technology and ‘spying’ makes me think about.
In the 13th chapter of the Book of Revelation, we’re told that the day will come that everyone will have to have a particular “mark” to buy or sell. Need milk, gasoline, or electricity? Not without the mark. This would have been unimaginable 200 years ago. People bought and sold in anonymity and were much more self sufficient. Not today. Today, most of us could not survive if we couldn’t buy things. Today, somebody knows everything we’re doing. Even our movements are being tracked through our cell phones. You don’t have to ‘check in’ on Facebook, they know where you are by which cell towers you’re picking up. Go to Montana and someone knows it. And hear me, I know I’m sounding like a ‘preppers’ TV show. If that’s what you see in this, you’ll miss my point.
My point is to remind you that God knows what is coming. And for Jesus’ followers, there are tough times ahead. As much as we pray for ‘peace on earth’, and there is nothing wrong with praying for peace, we will only find peace in Jesus. We will not find peace in this world. On the contrary, almost 2,000 years ago, the Bible warned us that terrible times would come. 2 Timothy 3 starts out, “Remember this: There are some terrible times coming in the last days. People will love only themselves and money. They will be proud and boast about themselves.” Seriously, can you say #selfies? Do I want to look studious or cool today? I know, forget the cool. But the proud and boastful times are upon us more than at any time in history. And I believe we can already see the tide turning against Christians in America. When we read the Bible, we should not be surprised when the trials come and we should not fear. We know that Jesus wins and that we, His people, overcome. But the journey will be difficult at times. And we cannot say that we have not been warned.