Happy New Year, dear sisters in Christ!
What will this year bring? Do you wonder as I do, I’m almost positive you do. This past year has been difficult in many ways with politics and Covid, personal struggles, an absence of normalicy, wearing masks that feel suffocating and which remove smiles from our faces, and so many other things.
Over Christmas I read a novel set during World War 2. World War 2 was from 1939 to 1945. It talked of food rations, neighbors betryaing neighbors in interest of self-preservation, cities destroyed as bombs dropped, boys forced into adult situations as they were called to fight, women trying to help any way they could, families separated, confusion over who is really on the right side, lies and deceit, girls taken advantage of by soldiers, and other aspects of war that I have never had to face.
I also looked up the Great Depression, a worldwide economic collapse during the 1930’s. My grandma saved each and every plastic bag she could. As my grandma aged and got dimentia, I remember hearing that Grandpa brought some money home from the bank, and she hid it someplace in the house — was her mind remembering times when there wasn’t enough? I love to shop at thrift stores — always have! But I remember telling my grandma about something I got at a thrift store, and she seemed almost offended. Were thrift stores and second hand clothing symbols of times where clothing was sparse? I don’t know. I do know my grandma lived through both the Great Depression and World War 2 years.
I have a confession. I don’t like history. Never have. Geography and history were jumbled in my mind. I didn’t care and I couldn’t keep the dates or places straight. But mostly, I didn’t care. I now find myself caring more about history, and what happend previously. The older I get, the more I find I can understand the fear of “what might come” and the worries of economy and politics. I read stories from the past and see people as people, just living their lives. Some of them facing wars and things I can not imagine — and neither could they. They were thrown into things just as we have been this year. So I now find history a bit more intriguing. I like museums better than I did as a child and young adult.
I listened to Dr. Youssef teach through Revelatons the other week. He taught of a political figure who will promise peace, but peace won’t last. He talked of wars and natural disasters. He talked of woes on the inhabitants of the earth. He talked of the restoration of the Kingdom of God. And as I listened, I thought that every gengeration has faced the unknowns of what comes next — in our own personal lives, and in the nation and world around us.
I praise God that He knows all things, is Sovereign, and determines each season. I take comfort that even the end has an appointed time (Daniel 11:35). I know for certain that He establishes rulers and their rise and fall (Daniel 2:21). I read of Isreal’s histroy (which is the histroy of all Chrsitians), and I see that the kings who did evil in God’s sight outnumbered those who did right in God’s sight by a lot. I know that for each person God ordains their days, and where they will live (Psalm 39, Acts 17: 25-27). You and I are exactly in the day and time God decided we should be.
Each day is known to God and Revelations, the final book in the Bible, tells what is yet to come. It is a strange book filled with symbolism and things hard to understand, yet it was given by God for our knowlege, instruction, and understanding. And there we learn that the end is full of hope — God’s restored kingdom on earth and His dwelling with humanity in all His glory! His glory is going to be so bright that no sun will be needed! The Tree of Life returns to the scene (last found in Genesis at the Garden of Eden), healing of the nations happens, and pain and suffering are gone! The book is about the unveiling of Christ Jesus — the reign and rule of His everlasting Kingdom! Many, many years ago Isaiah wrote of Jesus that, “The goverment shall be on His shoulders.” And, Daniel 7 shows that “His kingdom is everlasting.” Oh, the time is coming! And it is predetermined. That gives me hope and peace whatever lies ahead in 2021!
In the mean time, what do we do? We pray for our children to come to know Christ and walk in His ways, to deeply love Him and determine that they will stand for Him despite any trials that come. We pray they become a next generation of solid believers who pass on the truth of the gospel to their children and the next generation. We trust in the Lord, despite not understanding. We pray that we bear witness to Christ. We remind ourselves over and over the words of this song, “I don’t worry o’er the future for I know what Jesus said, and today I’ll walk beside Him for He knows what lies ahead. Many things about tomorrow I don’t seem to understand, But I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand.”
Press on into a new year! (And ps… don’t think just because I wrote this that the last year has not been hard, or has not been filled with emotional mood swings. I am writing this to counsel my own heart with truth as well as your heart, for I need the reminder to press on just as much as all of you!)
(PS… my sister sent me this link that puts life in 2020 in perspective in some ways and reminds us that we have so much, even during this pandemic: https://spanhouse.org/imagine-you-were-born-in-1900/)