“Happy talk” … conversation and discussion that unrealistically focuses only on positive aspects of a situation, and refuses to address any negative realities. Everyone engaged in discussions like that is ill served… they go away either completely deceived and disconnected from glaring realities or have a persistent feeling that things aren’t quite like they’ve just been described… there is often a feeling of dread or impending disaster.
Jesus did not engage in “happy talk!” In fact, he felt compelled to prepare His disciples for what the future would bring them as His followers. Nothing really has changed! What He told His followers in the first century to prepare them for the coming realities is precisely what is shaping up for today and what can be expected by those who are devoted, obedient followers of Christ as we move toward the “eschaton” – the time of the end – or what the Bible calls “the last days.”
Here’s what I read this morning in the Bible… Certainly, not “happy talk,” but what devoted followers of Jesus need to hear and heed, none the less…
“Remember the word I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. They will treat you this way because of my name! … When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who goes out from the Father, He will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning. All this I have told you so that you will not go astray. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. I have told you this, so that when the time comes you will remember that I warned you.” (from John 15:18 – 16:4 NIV).
But that is not the end of the story… Jesus also gave His disciples some reassuring words in the face of such realities…
“Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” (from Matthew 10:28–33 NIV)
Jesus predicted it… persecution for His sake. We should not be surprised if it comes our way! But He also promised his presence – His help – His concern! I’m so glad He will never leave us or forsake us regardless of what comes our way as His disciples!