Each new year brings the potential for a clean slate. New opportunities, new challenges, new experiences. But that clean slate also produces uncertainty.
Globally, we’re facing wars, terrorism, and natural disasters. Nationally, we’re weary of political conflicts, division, racism, as well as disillusionment with our elected officials—regardless of who you may have voted for.
All this uncertainty has renewed interest in end times prophecies. But it has also precipitated questions about the correct interpretation of those prophecies. Will there be a rapture, and if so, when? Is the millennium a literal period of time? Who is the AntiChrist? What is the role of the United States in the end times, if it even has a role?
When I recently taught the book of Revelation, I was overwhelmed by the number of class members who enrolled for one reason. They wanted names and dates to complete a timeline of end time events. But if we’re only looking for names and dates, we’re missing the point of prophecy. The Bible calls us to ask ourselves,
In light of the uncertainty in the world and the certainty of God’s sovereignty, how should we live?
Prophecy does more than simply reveal information about coming events. Every prophecy in the Bible also reveals something about who God is—His nature and His ways.
The more we learn about who God is, the more we understand how we are to live in uncertain times.
How we are to live when our government disappoints us.
How we are to live when our culture responds to our God with hostility.
How to live when even our friends reject our choice to surrender to the Savior.
There is no question that we live in uncertain times. Older generations fear for younger ones. And prophetic Bible passages often lead to more questions than answers. Still, the way we live in these unsettled times communicates much about who we believe God is.
Are we sending a message to those around us to “Do as I say, not as I do”? For example, we say we trust God…until a crisis arises and we collapse as our private world falls apart. Or we say we trust God for our nation…until the “other” candidate gets elected and we react with complete despair.
It’s one thing to trust God’s sovereignty when our experiences are positive and pleasant. It’s quite another thing to trust God when events seem to be spinning out of control and the future appears bleak at best.
Which situation do you think will provide the basis for a more powerful witness to a watching world? To the reality of intimacy with God? After all, anyone can claim to trust God when things are going well. It’s when our circumstances are at their worst that we have the opportunity to reflect Christ in ways that cause unbelievers to sit up and take notice.
As 2017 continues to unfold, we can be certain of at least one truth: God is always at work for our ultimate good and His eternal glory. Do you believe this? Really believe this? Will you choose to live in a way that communicates this truth in your personal relationships? On social media? At work? In your family?
If you do, regardless of what the new year brings, you will radiate a peace the world hungers for. You will also have numerous opportunities to share with others how they can obtain this peace for themselves.
When you look back on 2017 twelve months from now, what will you see? A year in which your intimacy with God blossomed through a relationship with His Son, Jesus? Or a year filled with a growing sense of dread that suffocated every opportunity to live for the glory of the One who is still sovereign over His creation?
The choice is yours. Just remember, your choice affects more than you alone. Your choice will impact everyone in your sphere of influence.
How will you and I live in 2017?