"But understand this, that in the last days will come perilous times of great stress and trouble [hard to deal with and hard to bear]."
We have more conveniences than at any time in history. We have greater technology than ever before. And yet our burdens haven't lessened. In fact, I believe they have increased. Why?
I used to read this verse and think it was talking about terrible persecution for the Church (and that still may be ahead for some of us). But I'm seeing it differently now. I think our abundance of technology has increased our burden.
I know that when my parents were kids, life was much simpler...think "farm life" with a large family. Heck! Even when I was a kid, life was much simpler!! Most of us didn't have air conditioning, so it was cooler to play outside than stay indoors--with a neighborhood full of kids. We didn't have lots of "things"--we created our own entertainment. I remember making hundreds of mud pies and feeding them to my younger brother. My brothers made garden battle grounds where their army men fought in great wars. We swung on the rope hung on the only tree in our neighborhood--put there by a fun dad. We walked to the "little store" for entertainment and a treat. We spent a whole afternoon in the public library--where our flip-flops irritated the librarian. Yes, life was simpler.
I believe dishwashers, air conditioners, TV's, laptops, iPhones, and instant messaging has served to complicate our lives. Even though I love these conveniences and the help they've been to my life and the way they've made me more comfortable, life has become harder. Even if we do those things I did as a kid, there's pressure to do more stuff...talk to more people...inform our audience of every move we make (write blogs ;))...compete...and race to the ever-moving finish line. And because we don't interact face-to-face as much as people did in generations past, more relationships are broken...which only adds to the stress and pressure. The conveniences we have have only made us more internal. We just want to go home and relax at the end of a day. We don't have time or energy for people and complications.
Whew! I'm tired just writing and thinking about this. I'm so grateful that many of our younger generation are trying to simplify their lives. It's going to take a concerted effort on our part to pull ourselves away from the great stress. We don't have to give in to it. God was warning us...but not without solution. Here's the end of that discourse Paul was giving in II Timothy 3:
"But as for you, continue to hold to the things that you have learned and of which you are convinced, knowing from whom you learned [them], And how from your childhood you have had a knowledge of and been acquainted with the sacred Writings, which are able to instruct you and give you the understanding for salvation which comes through faith in Christ Jesus [through the leaning of the entire human personality on God in Christ Jesus in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness]. Every Scripture is God-breathed (given by His inspiration) and profitable for instruction, for reproof and conviction of sin, for correction of error and discipline in obedience, [and] for training in righteousness (in holy living, in conformity to God’s will in thought, purpose, and action), So that the man of God may be complete and proficient, well fitted and thoroughly equipped for every good work."
We must be conformed to God's will in thought, purpose and action. When's the last time we asked God how we should be thinking? What His purpose was for our lives? What we should be doing? We've GOT to slow down long enough, and be still and quiet while we ask God these questions. We have to let that God-breathed Scripture change our thinking. THAT'S how to get out of the race we seem to be in--the one with the ever-moving finish line.