He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 1:7-8 (ESV)

Every approaching day has the potential to present us with challenges that we did not or could not anticipate. For those who trust in Jesus Christ, the anxiety of what the next day holds is tempered only by the knowledge that His sovereignty controls whatever might come our way and that ultimately everything will “work out for the good.” As Jesus met with His disciples only seconds before He would ascend back to heaven, their minds remained fixed upon the idea that Jesus’ work—their work—was reaching its climax and that Israel’s rightful place in the world was about to be reestablished. Unbeknownst to them, their question was not in keeping with the importance of the moment.

Jesus’ response is entirely consistent with His earlier rebukes of His disciples when they began to ask short-sighted questions pertaining to their own curiosities. Luke records that they once argued as to which among them was the greatest. Later, Peter, when being confronted regarding his own devotion, asked Jesus what would become of John. With every question, Jesus pushed back with answers that revealed the true nature of what was most important to be understood by those who asked.

For Jesus, it was far more critical that His followers embrace whatever might lie ahead fully equipped with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit than to overwhelm their finite minds with the plans of an infinite God. In a similar manner, we must take care that our theological understanding of subjects like the rapture, the tribulation, and the ultimate rule of Jesus Christ for eternity, not diminish our current and future dependence upon the Holy Spirit. Determining whether we will endure tribulation (The Great One or any other) is far less important than being daily filled with the Holy Spirit to handle the persecutions that may easily come our way as the final days approach.

The abiding presence of Jesus Christ is always the answer to the questions we don’t even know how to ask!