“So when you see the desolating sacrilege standing in the holy place, as was spoken of by the prophet Daniel (let the reader understand), then those in Judea must flee to the mountains; the one on the housetop must not go down to take what is in the house; the one in the field must not turn back to get a coat. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a sabbath. For at that time there will be great suffering, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look! Here is the Messiah!’ or ‘There he is!’—do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Take note, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Look! He is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look! He is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Wherever the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.
“Immediately after the suffering of those days
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from heaven,
and the powers of heaven will be shaken.
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see ‘the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”
Jesus talks here about even greater sufferings that are to come. Sufferings that are so bad that we would not be able to withstand them if He didn’t intercede for us. It will be suffering like nothing we have ever seen before. Honestly, I can’t imagine how bad such suffering would be. There is already so much suffering and pain in the world. It is difficult to imagine a suffering worse than a starving AIDS child in Africa. But it’s coming.
Yet, Jesus says that for our sake He will cut this suffering short, so that we will be able to endure. God will never let us be tried with more than we are capable of handling. With His help we can get through literally anything, even the worst suffering of all time. It kind of makes our upper-middle-class woes and problems seem insignificant, doesn’t it? Like, why am I so worried about being five pounds overweight? What is that compared with the suffering that is to come? Gives you some serious perspective.
And after all of that, Jesus will come for us. He will go and collect all of His people together. You know, verses like this make me think that maybe Heaven doesn’t start right when you die. Maybe we have to wait for Jesus to return before we can start our eternal life. I’ll just have to keep reading in order to find out, I suppose.