"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever" (1 Thess. 4:16-17).
On March 8, 2014, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, vanished over the South China Sea. Without a trace. And with 239 people on board. It's being described as an "unprecedented mystery." Where is it? Where have all the people gone?
The pictures of grieving friends and family members of those who are missing are heart-wrenching. I have prayed for God’s peace and comfort for them, as well as God’s direction of the search and rescue teams who are desperately looking for clues that will solve the mystery. But the unanswered questions seem to intensify the horror:
How could a modern airliner drop out of sight so quickly and completely?
What happened to the plane itself?
Was it hijacked?
Was it blown out of the sky?
Did something happen to the pilots so that without guidance the plane plunged intact into the depths of the sea?
Bottom line: Where are all the people?
The answers don’t seem to be forthcoming as I write this. But as I have prayerfully pondered all of the above, I can’t help but wonder: Is this worldwide sense of shock and helplessness, of questions and confusion, of fear and grief a glimpse of things to come? Is this a small snapshot of what the entire world will experience the day after the rapture of the church? Because the Bible is clear. There is coming a moment in time when Jesus will come back to gather to Himself all those—dead and alive—who have put their trust in Him. And on that day, the world will be asking, "Where have all the people gone?" Not just 239 of us, but millions of us.
On that day, with millions of people directly impacted by their own missing friends and family members, in the midst of overwhelming shock and helplessness, of questions and confusion, of fear and grief—when the world searches for clues, how easily will they find the answer in what I leave behind? Instead of an oil slick, will there be traces of His grace and glory and truth?
This is a thought I can’t seem to shake, so I share it with you. Will your life and mine be a light to the world (Matt. 5:14) that points people to Jesus after the rapture?
Anne Graham Lotz is a best-selling and award-winning author. Her most recent releases are Wounded by God's People, Fixing My Eyes on Jesus, Expecting to See Jesus and her first children's book, Heaven: God's Promise for Me. She is the president of AnGeL Ministries in Raleigh, N.C.