"And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains." - Matthew 24:6-8
Jesus is instructing his disciples what will take place in the future, before his second coming. The disciples (and those after them) are not to be alarmed by wars, which must take place. Great power competition will continue to happen, as it has throughout human history. Famines and earthquakes will also occur. But these things are not the end, just the beginning of the end.
In application of Jesus' teaching, we are to: (1) expect wars, famines, and earthquakes to happen, and not to be surprised at them; (2) realise human history is a long, drawn out affair, but that Jesus is definitely coming back; and (3) maintain our Christian poise when disastrous events occur. Wars, famines, and earthquakes have their purpose in God's overall plan for history.
Father, two great powers, China and Russia, seem to be gearing up for war, and it is frightening to me. But your Son has told us not to be alarmed. Wars are inevitable, especially as we near the end of history and the time of Jesus' return. So help me to maintain perfect poise and trust in you. We know perpetual peace cannot happen without the true King ruling on this earth. We wait expectantly for him. Be with your people in the meantime, all those who call upon your name. Help us to love you more than our own lives and to be faithful, available, teachable disciples. Thank you that you are totally sovereign over human history and have promised good to us. In Jesus' name, amen.
- Jeff Coleman