Family Radio’s Harold Camping—the latter-day Chicken Little who persuaded many to divest themselves of their earthly possessions in anticipation of the End of Days last year—has announced that the world did not, in fact, end. Though this is bad news for those of us who stopped paying our bills at that time (sorry, creditors!), all in all I think we can call this a win, for at least three reasons:
1. Had the final judgment occurred last year, I suspect that many of us would not have fared very well. I know I have done little to stem the tide of infant mortality in underdeveloped nations. I have brokered no peace treaties. I have established no homeless shelters or soup kitchens. And I have occasionally been grumpy. While the Lord stays his hand, we all have a chance to straighten up a little.
2. This Camping fellow has set a good example for all Bible-thumping prophets of doom by opening up the Bible and reading Jesus’s words: “Of that day and hour no one knows.” One of the reasons you don’t see a Catholic version of the runaway hit series Left Behind is that, though we may be skeptical as a group, we tend to believe things Jesus says. We have just as hard a time as everyone else doing what Jesus says, but it’s generally not because we’re second-guessing him.
3. Despite its flaws, I like this world. When God created our earth, he declared it good. I know he doesn’t need my endorsement, but I’m going to back him up on that. Yes, there are days when the horror is overwhelming, when the sadness is too deep, when the dawn never seems to break. But like a never-ending Downton Abbey, there is just enough trace of the author’s hand behind every tragedy that one can still believe it will all somehow work out. Good will triumph, love will prevail, and the dispossessed heiress will find her salvation in the arms of a distant relative who can restore her honor, her heart, and her heritage.
I hope Jesus does return today; but I hope he does so in a thousand human kindnesses, rather than in thunder from the sky. Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!