“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive,
but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.”
Matthew 24:22 (NIV)
A friend of mine had a son who, when 8 years old, asked for a dictionary of the English language for his birthday. What an odd request by a young boy just learning to read. Yet that was exactly his desire and when he received the dictionary his parents reported that their son studied it for hours at a time.
As a hammer and saw are to a carpenter so are words to me. Words are the tools of my trade. I spend hours a day reading books written by masters of the English language.
Two great words in the Bible are mercy and grace. We have considered the distinction between these words in previous devotionals. Let me remind you of how these terms differ from one another in their use.
Grace addresses us as needy. For example consider Titus 2:11 (NIV)
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people.”
Our greatest need is for redemption, salvation, to be reconciled to God. In His grace the Lord has provided for this vast need through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
Mercy addresses us first as miserable. Consider 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (KJV)
“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;
Who comforteth us in all our tribulation…”
What is needed in times of trouble is mercy, the comforting, tender compassion of our loving Father in heaven. Our verse today speaks of one way the Lord comforts us and shows us mercy. The times of tribulation at the end of human history will be shortened for the sake of the elect. How compassionate of God to terminate suffering sooner rather than later.
Here is an argument for us in praying during our times of severe suffering. We have a precedent where God will shorten the time of suffering for His people. Can we not then come to Him and ask that it be done again? Surely we may come and ask for this.
I am persuaded that such a request from the Father of mercies and God of all comfort is very reasonable. We ought to ask for a repeat now of what will happen for God’s people in the future. If you are finding your endurance failing bring this need to the Lord and pray that either you will be given grace to endure or else your time of suffering be shortened. God is able to do either and does not mind if we ask that the time be reduced that we have to cope with the problem. Get praying right now and learn the Lord’s answer.