“The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about—the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place.” (Reader, pay attention!) “Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. And pray that your flight will not be in winter or on the Sabbath. For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones. – Matthew 24:15-22 (NLT)
Jesus is predicting two events in these verses. The first event took place in AD 67-70 when the Jewish Revolt against the Romans occurred. This revolt led to the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. The second event that Jesus predicts is the tribulation period prior to his second coming. It is important to remember that just like in apocalyptic literature, prophetic literature images are generally symbolic. So, Jesus’ words do not necessitate events will play out just like these words. There are a few general takeaways, though. One is that at the moment of Jesus’ return there will be little time for planning. Our takeaway then is to be ready, which Jesus talks about in depth later in this chapter. Secondly, God’s grace is and will be present even in the midst of the tribulation. Jesus says it plainly by calling out that if it weren’t for God shortening the days (or bestowing his grace upon us) no one would be saved. In the midst of our hardships, God is here. He is “God with us.”
Remember a time when God was with you in a hardship. Thank God for that time. Write or reflect about how because of this past experience, you can trust God no matter what the future holds.