God is coming. Is this good news or bad news? That may depend on your
For example, a train crossing America lost power in both engines. When the train came to a stop, the engineer made the following announcement: "Ladies and gentlemen, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is that our engines have failed, and we will be stuck here for some time. The good news is that you took a train instead of a plane.”
Now, imagine that your home lies in the path of an incredibly destructive advancing army – an army so vast that nothing stands against its terrible march. “Before them, the land is like the Garden of Eden, behind them, a desert waste – nothing escapes them” (Joel 2:3). Good news? Or horrible news?
Nations quiver in fear as these soldiers charge forward, plowing through defenses, rushing through major cities and swallowing them with their vast numbers, breaking into every house, “like thieves they enter through the windows” taking whatever they want. “Before them the earth shakes, the sky trembles” (2:10). Nothing is safe. No one will be spared. Sounds like bad news, right?
For those who would dare to oppose the invaders, it would be terrifying. But what about for hostages waiting to be rescued by them? Wouldn’t the army’s approach be good news?
This unstoppable army is led by God. He is coming. “The Lord thunders at the head of his army,” the prophet Joel tells us (2:11). The time of this dreadful onslaught, he calls “the day of the Lord.” And Joel makes it clear that for anybody on the wrong side, it will be a horrible day – a day when “the joy of mankind is withered away” (1:12).
But, to those on God’s side, to those who have turned to him, God “is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love” (2:13). For them, the day of the Lord will be a time of rescue – of hostages being set free by unstoppable Special Forces commanded by God himself. It will be a day to “Be glad,” and “rejoice in the Lord your God.”
God is coming. Same day. Same event. That can be dreaded news to us – or the best news ever. What makes the difference is which side we choose to be on.