That is the question or fear upper most on people’s minds right now. What will happen to me, to my family, to my country in 2012? Through most of this year of 2011 I have been reading dire predictions, fears and speculation about what 2012 will bring. It is reminiscent of when the year 2000 approached and everyone was sure the computers would all shut down forever because of the date ending in the bios or somewhere on every computer. I never totally understood the theory but I too wondered what would happen when the clock struck 12:01 on the last day of 1999. Would the computers all over the world self-destruct and would we all be thrown back into the dark ages of having to do everything by hand?
Well, we all survived and nothing changed on our computers and we moved boldly into the 21st century thinking the worst was over. My good friend and mentor in things of God laughed at all of us and said he wasn’t going to waste any time worrying about it and he was right.
This year the odds seem much higher with the ticking of the clock as it rings out the old and rings in the new. Wars and rumors of wars, tent cities in America, the fear of martial law and dictatorship in that proud free country, one world order, nuclear strikes against any number of targets, sun flares knocking out communication on earth, planet X headed for us somewhere in space and of course the end of the Mayan calendar. Then there are things like real estate prices falling, food and fuel prices rising, stocks falling, job shortages, water shortages and of course weather wars and freak storms and damage to our homes, lives and income. Floods and fires, heat waves, drought, homelessness, starvation, all increasing at end time’s proportions.
As I sat down to write this tonight, New Year’s Eve in Australia, ahead of some of you, I heard the booms of the fireworks going off at the casino across the dry Todd River. As I ran outside to watch, my dog ran inside to hide from the sounds. The fireworks were beautiful with the hiss of the missiles that send them up into the sky and the boom as they explode. Soon I could hear the people who make the Todd River their home and meeting place begin to shout in recognition of the beauty and wonder of the fireworks. I thought how the Aboriginal people had only recently discovered fireworks and to them it is probably still a wonder as it was to me when I was a child.
As I watched the fireworks, memories of the past came into my mind and I thought of all the years I’d stared at the night sky watching the beautiful displays of light and sound. I felt tears in my eyes for the memories of friends and family gone, my life in a foreign country so far from what is left of my small family. With that came all the dire thoughts of what is to come in this New Year we are ushering in with fireworks and parties. In the past we spend this time of the year reflecting on the year that has passed but I find myself wondering what is to come in the year ahead. And I wonder if any of this affects the Aboriginal people over there in the river bed. They think and live on a different plane than we do in so many ways that perhaps they just see this as another year without the fears and suspicions that we face it with.
Earlier in the day I was reading toward the end of the book I mentioned in my last blog and I want to share a few paragraphs with you as it pretty much says where we need to be in this New Year before us. Captured by Grace by Dr David Jeremiah is a very good study of the Grace of God and I highly recommend it as a read that will encourage you in your faith and hope for the future. It is a fairly short book an easy read and one I will go back to often in the future I am sure.
The author is looking at Paul’s writings and he states the following:
Paul offered the Romans a list of negative experiences that Christians could and did encounter; Tribulation, distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril and sword. Then he concluded; “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” Romans 8:37
Paul takes his stand at the very cross-hairs of the devil’s target and says, “I’m here. Let the world, the flesh and the devil hurl every possible weapon at me. Remove every luxury I have, as happened to Job. Try me to the point of distress, as happened to Abraham. Let me stumble on the impediments of my own sinful appetites, as happened to David. I could even deny the Lord as Peter denied Him, and still the Lord would never deny me. For nothing, and I mean nothing, can separate me from the love of Christ. Nothing will deny me from being the conqueror that Christ has made me to be through the power and redemption of His love. For that reason, I can be strong. I can be courageous. I can stand against anything that stands against me, because I have the advantage of knowing I will win in the end through the victorious blood of my Saviour; that no matter what happens to me here on earth, I will come before Him in the day of judgment and be declared justified because the Son has stood in my place. Therefore I will laugh and sing with the joy of heaven through the worst of storms, and just try to stop me! I will live every moment in the abundance of gratitude that flows from the power of grace.”
When you think of everything that is happening today and predicted to happen, you could easily say, “That is what we all face today, Paul was talking about our life.” By the grace of God we can face anything and everything that comes against us in 2012.
I have experienced the sufficiency of God’s grace over and over through life threatening accidents, divorce, and death of family and dear friends, poverty and loss of home and friends. I can testify that Paul is absolutely correct: nothing can separate us from the love of Christ or even come close. The extent of our challenge defines the extent to which God is glorified and we are blessed as we cling more tightly to Him through the storms to come in this New Year and all the years before us.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise then when we first begun. Well known and loved words from the song Amazing Grace. Who hasn’t sung that song and felt tears well up in their eyes. As we face whatever this year 2012 has for us we must continue to sing God’s praise just as Paul did whether we abound in good things or we lose them. The world can take everything from us but nothing can separate us from the love of God and in the end we are victorious despite what the world does. Welcome in the New Year with God at your side. If God is for us who can be against us!
I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever. Psalm 89:1