Right after midnight last night, I posted on Facebook that the only thing that had disappeared was the hubby’s phone (he lost it taking M to the park). I wasn’t the only person poking fun at the Rapture, or lack thereof – Christians and non-Christians alike had a field day mocking Harold Camping and his followers for the next 24 hours or so. Some of the commentary was pretty darn funny; some of it was quite mean-spirited. I laughed at the funny stuff early on, but as I went through my somewhat hectic day (which involved not only replacing the lost cell phone but also a tire on my car and then missing an appointment in San Antonio as a result), I began to feel sorrowful. In no way am I passing judgement on anyone, especially because I was laughing, too, at first. But I really felt like the Lord was showing me His heart in this situation, and His words had the flavor of rebuke. This is what He said to me:
1. Did anyone speak over Harold Camping, that the eyes of his heart might be enlightened, that he might have wisdom and understanding, that he would not be deceived? Did anyone try to show him Biblical proof that no man knows the time or date of My return? Did anyone reach out to him in sincere love and concern?
2. Can you imagine the different emotions his followers are experiencing right now? Some of them are truly disappointed because they believed wholeheartedly. Some are feeling duped, disillusioned, and angry. Some have suicidal thoughts because they spent so much of their money unknowingly promoting a deception. Some don’t know what to believe at all and are blaming Me. Is anyone reaching out to them in sincere love and concern?
I had to confess that I don’t know if anyone tried to speak to Mr Camping. I also hadn’t thought about the followers’ feelings until the Lord asked. But the more I considered and listened, the more I felt His sorrow over the whole situation. These are people made in His image who were first deceived and then they were ridiculed not only by the world, but also by the Church. What they need is not to be mocked and shunned by their brothers and sisters in Christ but to be shown the truth that will set them free in an atmosphere of love and grace. I have failed to do this. I don’t know any of these people personally, but since when does that affect my ability to pray for them and speak truth over their lives? Quite simply, it doesn’t.
I will admit that I’m still not sure of my own position regarding the Rapture of the Church. I’ve read decent arguments for several different scenarios, and I just haven’t quite made up my mind. But I don’t think it’s a deal-breaker, especially if I live my life being ready in and out of season and trusting completely in my God. I know that whether I have to live through part of the Tribulation or not, I’m still His and He’s still coming to get me, one way or another. I do understand enough to know that Harold Camping and his followers had some pretty erroneous theology, but I think in some ways, many of them were just trying to be ready in and out of season, too. The Bible warns us that Satan will try to deceive “even the very elect, if possible,” (see Matthew 24:24) through false prophets and the like rising up. I want to be cautious, here, especially in light of what I feel the Lord said to me. I’m not calling anyone a false prophet, per se. I am calling them deceived. And I guess all I’m asking is, what is the remedy for deception? Are we administering it?