2 Timothy 3:1-5

Like sticks of dynamite taped together with a short fuse, our times are really volatile. Anger is ready to explode into physical violence at the slightest provocation. This entire globe seems brimming with hair-trigger hostility, ready to flare into full-scale disaster.

It's not just a vast global problem, however. It's personal. It's in your neighbourhood. Your school. Where you work. Home security systems are no longer considered a luxury for the rich. Even teachers are not safe in the classroom.

But I must confess, the final straw of shock came when I read of the murder of John White in a quiet neighbourhood in southwest Cleveland. The killer? A 19-year-old hired by White's two kids. That's right. His 17-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter paid $60 to have their own father killed.

The teenagers paid off the murderer, then hid the body in a back room of the house. After that they used their dad's credit cards to go on a 10-day spending spree. While their father's body was decaying in the utility room, they were cooking meals in the kitchen a few feet away and enjoying themselves in the living room.

After being caught, they openly confessed the entire, bizarre event. When asked why, they answered: "He wouldn't let us do anything we wanted." The dad had angered the kids by trying to enforce an evening curfew and by not allowing them to quit school or "smoke pot." So they had him killed.

Centuries ago, in a stone dungeon, the Apostle Paul wrote his last few sentences. Yet, today, they stab us awake with incredible relevance: "But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be...arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy...brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless" (2 Timothy 3:1-4).

The Greek term he chose for "difficult times" means, literally, "fierce, harsh, hard to deal with, savage." It is used only one other time in the New Testament, when it describes two demon-possessed men as "extremely violent" (Matthew 8:28).
An apt description of our times. Yet there is a glimmer of hope amid this flood of violence. It is this: Christ's coming cannot be far away. These "last days" of pain—though they may seem to pass slowly—are daily reminders that our redemption draws near. And "we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" (1 Corinthians 15:51-52).

Like, fast. Really fast. Faster than a short fuse on sticks of dynamite.

When everything looks hopeless, we have the comfort of our eternal Hope.


Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.