We have just entered a new year, and like so many times before, we wonder what it will bring to us. This year especially, as things have not been going in a good direction the last two years. The uncertainty about the future often plays into feelings of pessimism, but looking back over two tough years, we can say that we made it through despite many obstacles and troubles.
Before His arrest and death on the cross, Jesus knew His disciples would enter a time of fear and confusion after it happened, and that they needed to be strong in their faith to overcome. Their faith in His love for them, and the Word that He taught them, would provide guidance in the difficult time ahead of them. It is so easy to forget the Word when sorrow and fear fill our hearts and minds! Peter seemed to be the most vulnerable one, but Jesus had a word for him:
And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” Luke 22:31
We get sifted in the tough times, but faith keeps us safe and secure. This is how we weather all life’s storms, also confident in the knowledge that Jesus prays for us:
Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25
Faith rests when there is no adversity, but it grows stronger with each challenge. With all your planning for the new year, be sure to keep your faith in God strong. His promises reveal His will for you, and are the rock to which you can anchor your faith when the waters become choppy. God’s promises won’t fail you when your faith is strong.
Looking at the overall trend of the world, we can expect another tough year. Without getting into the politics of it, it is clear that control over our lives is on the increase, and that the quality of life that we enjoyed for so long, is being eroded as a result. New threats appear on the horizon all the time, leading us to believe that life is about to get even tougher than we had known the last while.
There is a bigger picture that we need to see to understand where the world is heading, namely the Biblical narrative that tells us we have arrived at the end of the present era. The world is in transition into a new order under a global government, and a single, authoritarian world leader—the last world empire that we read about in Daniel 2:41-43. What is happening now, prepares the world for it.
Does it scare you? It shouldn’t because the Lord prepared us for this time; He warned us beforehand through the prophets that it would happen. Nothing is new to Him.
Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.’ Isaiah 46:9,10
The ultimate control of world affairs are in the hands of its Creator; He is also the One who will take care of you. The Lord sustained us all along, and there is no reason why He will abandon us so close to the end.
Since the Word informed us of what is coming, we are in an excellent position to prepare ourselves for the days ahead. While life might be hard, there is much that we can do:
- Don’t underestimate the power of faith in God and His love for you
- Build your faith by spending much time in the Word. Remember faith comes by hearing the Word of God. (Romans 10:17) And build your “most holy faith by praying in the Holy Spirit.” (Jude:20)
- Always be aware that Jesus is praying for you. (Hebrews 7:25)
- Get rid of distractions: deal with issues that need to be dealt with in order to clear your mind to focus on what is at hand
- Listen carefully to global leaders as they always announce their plans, and prepare accordingly. Right now we hear about cyber attacks that might paralyze institutions like banks, etc. It is better to be safe than sorry, so keep enough cash at home to last for a while
- Stock up on your essentials
- Be involved in a small group of trusted people of like precious faith—it is not wise to face tough times alone
- Pray. Ask the Lord for guidance, and to open your eyes to what you need to see
- Stay informed, and be aware that fake news comes from sources that used to be trusted. Propaganda is real. Exercise discernment
- Finally, and most importantly, be ready to meet your Saviour. Our final destination is spiritual; this world is not our home!
Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Luke 12:40
Above all, do not give up hope when bad news comes to your ears; our hope is not in the well-being of this world, but in the One who holds us in His heart. Hope will be a scarce commodity in the time to come, “but always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15)
Let us see this year as a good opportunity to heed the words of Paul to the church:
Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:10,11
We are one year closer to going home!