“Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. Matthew 24:26-27
Years ago, I was selected by my ROTC cadre to attend the Army’s hardest and (at 11 days) shortest badge course called Air Assault School. While this school is offered at several locations across the United States, I was particularly drawn to this one in the summer of 2000, because it was being held at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
The first day of our glorious initiation into the elite ranks of an Air Assault soldier was Day Zero (or Zero Day as we called it). It was here, after an exhaustive inspection process, that the instructors drove us to the mountainous jungle portion of Oahu, and then marched us out into a large field of knee-deep mud and proceeded to smoke us with exercises zealously until everyone reached muscle fatigue. It was only after this that we were allowed to complete the massive obstacle course that was either pass or fail (for which many failed and went home).
Admittedly, I was somewhat naive about going to Hawaii. I was expecting my barracks room to overlook the magnificent Pacific Ocean. Instead, we slept out in tents on a dusty field the whole time next to a Chinook helicopter unit (CH-47s) who were constantly coming and going, blowing dust on us and everything we had. When we weren't taking dust baths, we were getting rained on while on of our four mandatory road marches (4, 6, 8, and 12 miles every other day) up and down the steep hills and ravines of the Mililani Mauka-Launani Valley in the East Range portion of Oahu. I even remember one of the hills (called Ivan) because you could literally reach out and touch the road in front of you while standing. But it was also during this time that I first learned the somewhat crude phrase, “embrace the suck.”
Definition: “Embrace the suck” is military slang for one to willingly accept the suffering, hardships, and inevitable difficulties in order to make the best of the situation. It’s very much the mindset encouraged in order to make it through things like Ranger School, Special Forces Assessment, BUD/SEAL school, and other rigorous military schools designed to break you.
Truth be told, I did numerous stints of "hard time" over the next two decades of service, as many of my brothers-at-arms would also attest to, but I never forgot those illustrative eleven days in Hawaii. That school set a foundation of sorts for where my thresholds would be in future periods of physical and mental discomfort. IOW, Air Assault school became sort of the benchmark for me of what I could take and not take.
Having led with that, this will probably be my least popular article ever, but I think it’s vital to our understanding as watching community, in maintaining healthy expectations as we move forward in these final moments of human history.
We need to be prepared to be here longer than we expect, should the Lord tarry. This means we need to mentally and spiritually, gird up our loins, and prepare ourselves for the potentially tough times ahead.
I'm not saying there will be tough times, I'm just saying, we need to prepare ourselves in case there are. I mean, things are already tough for many of you, so I'm probably preaching to the choir at this point. However, we all want to get out of here (so do I). But what if all of our prognostications are off by a few years? What if there is something in this grand prophetic picture we aren't seeing, or can't see? Don't misunderstand me...we are in the season. We just can't say with specificity how long that season is.
I know we all want to go up. I know we all feel like there isn’t a problem so big in our lives that the Rapture couldn’t fix it. I know we are all vexed living in a world that is increasingly being given over to the spirit of Antichrist. Trust me, I know. I would like to have been raptured yesterday, but the fact of the matter is, today came, and we have to deal with what’s on the plate in front of us now and potentially tomorrow.
The reason I am writing this is that I would be remiss if I didn't. What if I just kept telling you week after week..."soon, maybe next week" "maybe next month" or "maybe this coming Pentecost" etc., etc. Take my writing ministry as an example. If I were an unscrupulous prophecy teacher over the years (and you know many of whom I speak) my audience would have been subjected to that continuous 11-year emotional and spiritual roller coaster ride of build-ups and let-downs. A roller coaster ride where the rises (hypes) and falls (let downs) are so steep, you want to lose your lunch. The breakneck twists and turns are so sudden, that they give you whiplash. In fact, that ride is so unpleasant, that it would rival that old wooden rollercoaster (Texas Giant) at Six Flags over Texas (trust me, you take a beating on this one).
I mean, if I only continually worked my audience up into a frenzy year after year watching for this feast or that feast, this astronomical alignment, or that one, or some geopolitical or technological development to occur, and we are still here 11 years later, I would have had one emotionally-abused audience.
That's why I've always tried to maintain an even keel approach to the nearness of our Lord's return. That's why in 2009 when reading Don Koenig's article likening the mid to late 2020s and early 2030s as the likely season of the Second Coming, I grumbled and became discouraged. But even in that discouragement, the Spirit confirmed in my spirit, that he was on to something. Trust me, I wanted it to be in 2009. Nevertheless, here we are in 2022. Think of how many people came to know the Lord as Savior during that time. Think of how you have grown in that time.
Make no mistake about it, we are in the season of His return. Satan and his Luciferian forces are hype focused on the year 2030 for some reason. That should tell us something.
I've written things in the past things such as Running out of Normal which speaks to the increasingly abnormal times we live in, and how the "new normal" threatens to push us past the normalcy threshold of Luke 17:26-30. I've written about how if we push past all the Prophetic Redlines, we will soon find ourselves outpacing the technological capabilities listed in Revelation. I've written about how Bible things follow Type and Shadow, and patterns, and if we push too far past our present time, we will be floating out in the ether without anything to reference back to. I've even written about how if the Rapture happened on Tish B'Av, it would certainly get the observant Jews' attention.
The point is we don't know definitively when the Rapture will be. Now, we can certainly see things lining up for the 70th Week of Daniel. We can see the technological advancements arriving in our day that will be used by the coming Beast kingdom. We can see the world racing ahead to create the political necessity for the Beast kingdom. We can see the formation of that final global religion. We can see Gog and Magog lining up geopolitically. We can see the decline of the Church in most of the world. We can see all of the signs that the prophets, apostles, and Jesus pointed to as indicators of the last days. So we know we are close...but just how close, well, again, we can't know.
I’m not saying that the Rapture is years off and that we have another decade (or more) left before the Lord returns. The world (under the control of Satan) seems hell-bent (literally) to get something done before 2030. In fact, 193 nations signed the UN Agenda 2030 back on September 25, 2015. Had the Covid lockdowns not happened in 2020-21, I would be far more skeptical than I am now that it could happen by then. But 2020 just showed you (and them) how quickly they can grab power when they need to. And like moths to a flame and sharks to blood, these global elitists can't help themselves when it comes to grabbing power.
“But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and care of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly. For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch, therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:34-36
Back to the title. When I say “embrace the suck”, I am not saying you should embrace the world. We are to be in the world, but not of it. I'm not even saying to embrace your situation as if it were fated and can't be improved upon. We can all see the world has become increasingly perilous and wicked, and living in these final moments is proving to be far more Rated-R than Rated-PG.
Now, this doesn't apply to everyone. If I've got my finger pointing at anyone, just remember, I've got three fingers pointing back at myself. Here is what I am saying; instead of complaining about the way things are, you embrace the fact that God chose you to live in this time and place. Embrace the gifts and callings He has purposed you with and use them for His glory. Embrace the role he has called you to be in your circle(s) of influence. Embrace the fact that He has chosen you to live at the end of human history for His own divine purposes (Eph 1:3-6). I mean, out of all the generations you could have been born in, He chose you and me to live in the final one. Think about how awesome and special that is in light of all that is happening now. We are in the end game. Most of the churches and all of the world are dead asleep to what is coming. If there ever was a time to be a watchman, it is now.
There are some notable benefits to embracing this mindset:
It helps you accept your circumstances for what they are, especially if they are less than ideal.
It keeps you grounded and not chasing after what the world says you have to do.
It helps you lead a more disciplined life because you know it will not last long.
It helps you to become more resilient and adaptable in knowing that others have either gone before us in these same trials and tribulations, and we can learn from them how to push through it
It helps develop an attitude of continuing forward and never giving up.
Yes, this fallen, broken world sucks. It sucks to see innocent people get killed while the wicked walk away scot-free. It sucks that unborn babies are sacrificed on the altar of convenience by the millions. It sucks that Sodom and Gomorrah are becoming the new normal. It sucks to see the wicked prosper and thrive, while the hardworking, honest folk are getting trampled under. But this seeming advantage the wicked have is momentary and fleeting. The storm is coming and they will not escape it.
In closing, keep your feet firmly planted on the ground, but continue to set your affections on the heavenly things. Let that affection graduate into an obsession, not to daydream, but to motivate you toward good works and the sharing of the eternal gospel of Jesus Christ. When you move, move out in power and glory and be the salt and light God has called you to be in these final moments of human history. You and I are not going to get a second chance at this, be bold. Be courageous. See also James 2, Titus 2-3, Eph. 2, 4, 1 John 1-2 for motivation if you need it!
When these little storms and tribulations come, lean into it and embrace the suck. Yes, things are tough now, but this life is quickly, quickly, quickly drawing to a close. Don't sweat what people think or say about you. You and I have the truth in God's word. A truth that is more certain, than the rising of the sun tomorrow. And keep watching, because Jesus said when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads because your redemption draws nigh. (Luke 21:28)
“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”
O soul are you weary and troubled No light in the darkness you see There's light for a look at the Savior And life more abundant and free
Turn your eyes upon Jesus Look full in his wonderful face And the things of earth will grow strangely dim In the light of his glory and grace
(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. James D Sims, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment)