Fear Not the New Year
As you look forward to the New Year what comes to mind? Are you excited? Are you making big plans? Or are you afraid, apprehensive and uncertain? As you anticipate the New Year how do you see the future unfolding?
Do you find world events such as global warming, over population, drought, famine, war, nuclear proliferation, terrorism, extinction of species after species, deforestation, break down of families, school shootings, mall shootings, ethnic cleansing, and increasing national debt, encouraging? When you look to the future what do you see? Are you excited and hopeful or uncertain and afraid?
Jesus didn’t leave us to fear and doubt, but told us what to expect in order for us to be prepared. He said, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but don’t be afraid. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines, earthquakes and pestilence in various places… On the earth, nations will be in anguish and confusion over the rising of the sea. Men will be overwhelmed with fear and anxiety about the future of the world…All these are the beginning of birth pains. So when these things begin to happen, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Matthew 24:6-8 Luke 21:11, 25-28.
Consider a woman going into labor, how does it start? In the beginning of labor, are the pains most frequent and intense or does the pain increase in frequency and intensity as labor progresses? But even though, as labor progresses, the pain increases, the expectant mother isn’t afraid because she knows labor culminates with delivery which ends the pain and brings much joy. Can we expect the future events of the world to be similar? Can we expect that the rapidity and intensity of painful and devastating world events to increase as time moves forward? And can we also expect that it will end with delivery for the people of God, which will end the pain and bring much joy?
But consider for a moment a woman going through labor having no idea she is pregnant, would the birth experience be much more terrifying? Does knowing what is happening and what waits at the end of the painful ordeal make bearing the labor easier? Imagine what the future will be like for those who don’t know what is actually happening, for those who don’t know the truth about God as revealed by Jesus? It will be a terrifying time.
But God doesn’t want anyone to go through this painful time unaware. He doesn’t want anyone to be afraid. He doesn’t want anyone to be lost. Thus He patiently waits, holding back the four winds of strife, giving us opportunity to be healed, to be changed, to be transformed by His healing power to be ready to meet Him when He comes.
Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14. God is eager to deliver us from the pain, to deliver us from this world of sin, sickness and death. But God is waiting for us to take the Good News about Him to the world.
This year, may we all commit ourselves to spreading the truth about God around the world, and when we see the labor pains increasing, we won’t need to be afraid, but rejoice because our deliverance is drawing near!