It may seem strange to think of “the last miles” as we start a new year. We usually think of last miles being at the end of a hard journey. Those miles are the ones that are the hardest to endure and stay awake for. Maybe it is unusual to talk of these at this time. We could be talking of new beginnings, resolutions, and new goals. This would not be completely inappropriate. But we are in unusual times. Even a casual observer of current events, with only a small understanding of the Word, can see that we are walking the last miles. Jesus told us in Matthew 24:32,33, “Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it [He] is near, even at the doors.” Fig trees are enjoyed in our part of the country. In spring when you see the big green leaves appear, there is one thing you can be assured of: it is almost summertime. Jesus used that illustration to teach us the same concept, that when you see the things happening that He told us about in the previous verses, we can be assured we are walking the last miles of history.
We have reason to be concerned as we watch this nation on a spiral down and away from God. The election with all that it entails, the increased number of states accepting gay marriages, certain drugs that have been illegal now being legalized in some states, and in general the level of morality seemingly at an all-time low, have left many of us with heavy hearts. Some have acknowledged feelings that must be close to what the prophets of old had when they watched the country they loved going headlong into judgment.
On the world scenes it seems obvious that the puzzle is coming down to the last pieces. The picture is clearer than ever before. We have seen revolts by youth (as in Egypt) to overthrow governments, claiming the desire for free elections, only to see a leader of the strictest sect of the Muslims put into power, who then claims authority to himself. We have watched the state of Israel being distanced by countries that once gave them solid support. Many other things could be cited on the world scene that give us concern on the road we are traveling. Again, the obvious deduction is that we are traveling the last miles.
The question is, “How is this affecting us?” The choice is ours as to whether it strikes fear to our hearts and causes panic and worry, or if we take heart and lift up our heads and use the opportunities to witness for our Lord. We have no reason to fear if we really believe that “He is near”! If we really believe the words of our Lord that teach of the last days being days of increased violence, iniquity, perilous times, fighting, and departing from the faith, then beyond doubt we are in the last of the last days, and HE is near. HE will be the one to put down all sin and rule in righteousness! We will be with HIM. Why fear when He is near? Another way it should be affecting us is the way it did the prophets of old. Impending judgment gave many opportunities for witnessing. I wonder if you have noticed, too, how almost every conversation in the last months can be so easily used to remind one of judgment, or God’s sovereignty, or the need to turn back to the Bible. We don’t need to be praying for God to open doors for witness; we only need to pray that He will give us the strength and wisdom to walk through the open doors.
As history unfolds before us, and we travel the last miles toward Home, I am reminded again that only those who are serious about getting Home will make it. Only those who are daily at the foot of the cross and living a voluntary life of discipleship for Christ will make it. Simply being in the right church and doing and saying the right things to take communion will not get us through the last miles. Only by a personal commitment to the Lordship of Christ and feeding on His Word daily will we find the grace and strength needed.
As the world grows darker, the light of Christ will shine brighter and will penetrate even the darkest days. Our hearts should take courage, and even a hint of excitement should arise, that oh so soon, Jesus will rend the heavens and come back to earth. not as a Babe in the manger, but as King of kings and Lord of lords! and we are sons and daughters of the King who will triumph over all sin and evil! We are sons and daughters of the King that everyone will bow to! and to think that His words are being fulfilled in front of our eyes, and we know that “He is near” (Matt. 24:33). Wherefore, brothers and sisters, let this comfort your hearts, and go out into your part of this dark world and let the light of our lovely Lord Jesus shine out of your lives and point others to Him.
“Unto them that look for Him [eagerly anticipate Him] shall He appear the second time without [apart from] sin unto salvation” (Heb 9:28b).
When I’ve gone the last mile of the way,
I will rest at the close of the day,
And I know there are joys that await me
When I’ve gone the last mile of the way.
(Johnson Oatman, Jr.)
~ Dublin, GA