Over the summer, I’ve been taking a deep dive into Doomsday Preppers. For those unaware, it’s a TV show about people preparing for the end of the world. I’ve watched as they dig bunkers and spend their weekends doing evacuation test runs with their families. I’ve listened to related podcasts in which people speak genuinely about the start of the millennium and how they think life as we know it will end. I’ve read about which foods will last forever and what I’ll need when the world truly ends. Everyone on Doomsday Preppers knows what needs to be done to survive. They’re convinced they have the right tactics. They’re completely certain that one day, the world will end—which means they need to be ready so that they will be the one of the ones left.
After all this watching, listening and reading, I’ve caught myself laughing at them, enjoying their sincerity, but acknowledging their craziness. Lately, however, I’ve had some time to pause and think about what I’m doing to prepare for the end of the world. You see, I’m just like one of the guys on Doomsday Preppers, living my life in light of the end of the world—except for one significant thing: they’re preparing out of fear. They’re preparing in order to survive. In contrast, I’m getting ready with full assurance that I’ll survive. Furthermore, I’m getting ready for something greater than mere survival.
How about you? How do you feel when you contemplate the end of the world? Maybe it never comes to mind: there’s work to do, grass to mow, mouths to feed and clothes to clean. The busyness of our day-to-day lives gets in the way of preparing for Jesus’ return. Maybe you’re like me most of the time—living like the end of the world isn’t imminent and that everything will just keep on going as it always has.
However, we know from the Bible that one day, Jesus will return. One day the world will end. One day we will all be raised to stand before the judgement seat of God. So how do we live in light of this resurrection? What truths do we need to keep reminding ourselves of when life gets busy and we become complacent?
As well as taking a deep dive into Doomsday Preppers, I’ve also been taking a deep dive into 2 Peter 3, a chapter about the end of the world. In it, I’ve been struck by three helpful principles to keep in mind when preparing for the end.
1. How to wait
In 2 Peter 3, the Apostle Peter shows us exactly what we are waiting for: the Day of the Lord is coming—a day when the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Given this future destruction, says Peter, how should we be waiting? He answers his own question later in verse 11: we ought to be living holy and godly lives. Jesus is coming back, he will bring a new heaven and a new earth, and it matters how we wait for his return. This means we mustn’t become complacent in the way we live: it matters—not just for now, but for the life to come.
How are you living while you wait for Jesus to return? Are you working hard at living a godly life? Or are you working hard at climbing the corporate ladder? If it’s more like the latter, spend some time in the Bible. Let it shape how you live. And ask God to help you live a life of trusting obedience while you wait for Jesus’ return.
2. What to do while we wait
The Apostle Peter tells us that we should live lives of holiness and godliness while we wait. But he also points out exactly what this time is for: in 2 Peter 3:15, he writes, “count the patience of our Lord as salvation”. God is patient with us, wanting all to come to repentance. God is holding back Jesus’ return so that more people can come to salvation. Therefore, we prepare for Jesus’ return by calling others to respond to the gospel in faith and repentance.
See, we’ve got a job to do! However, it’s easy to get distracted with busyness or hindered by our desire to be well thought of. Perhaps we’re just afraid of the rejection that so often comes with sharing the gospel. But God’s patience is such a kindness to us: it means there won’t always be rejection, for there are still people for whom God is waiting to come to repentance. These people may be your desk mate or the parent you see at the school gate. They may even be your best friend.
So we are waiting, but we’re not waiting aimlessly; we’re working hard at obeying God’s word—which means sharing the gospel with those who are yet to trust in Jesus.
3. The attitude of our waiting
Do you know the difference between the Christian preparing for the end and the can collector building a bunker? The Christian waits with hope. This is important: hope is what will keep us going when things feel bleak and God’s promises seem dim. 2 Peter 3:13 reminds us who God is, and highlights what we’re waiting for and the true hope that it brings us: “But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
Our God is a God who will keep his promises. He has proven himself to be trustworthy time and time again throughout history. He doesn’t change. This means we can cling to his promises of a new heaven and a new earth. The sufferings you experience now—the real sting of death, and the hurt and pain of life in this sinful body—will one day be wiped away. We’re waiting for a place where everything will be right. Furthermore, this place is guaranteed by God himself.
This hope keeps us going as we live a holy and godly life and as we share the gospel. Keep reminding yourself of this hope. Keep reminding yourself who God is and where we’re headed. This hope will help you to continue living in light of the end of the world.
I recognise that I’m not unlike the seemingly crazy guy, taking his family out on weekends to test their survival life raft. He’s preparing for the end of the world. I am too, but I’m preparing with true hope for the future. I’m preparing by continuing to work at living a holy and godly life. I’m preparing by sharing the gospel with those who need to hear about Jesus. And I’m preparing with hope and thankfulness for a God who always keeps his promises, guaranteeing that my preparations and labour will not be in vain.
Elsie Anderson has just completed her third year at Moore College.