Very few things in our world today are certain. For example, planes and trains run off schedule more than they run on schedule. Appliances break down after the warranty has expired. Clothes come into and then go out of fashion (but if you hold on to your clothes long enough, you will be in style again). Many times, the check isn’t in the mail and our job, which we think we will have until retirement, changes or we get laid off. Change is inevitable and the future is very hard to predict.
As we leave 2011, which has been called by some “the year of fear” and we enter 2012, we face quite a few unstable situations, which make 2012 very difficult to predict. We stand on the very brink of war with Iran. The unrest in the Middle East continues to grow as Israel and the Palestinians contend for the same ground. North Korea has stormed onto the international radar screen once again through the death of Kim Jung Il. Here at home, we face the prospects of an unstable economy, the possibility of more terrorist attacks, and many face fears concerning the security of their jobs. In the midst of all this uncertainty, is there anything we can be sure of in 2012? I believe there are at least five things we can know for sure:
1. God’s Word is true and powerful. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” What other influence could accomplish so much? God’s Word is “God breathed,” which means every word is completely dependable and will accomplish its purpose. Paul told Timothy God’s Word would make him complete and thoroughly equipped for every good work. God’s Word is still completing and equipping everyone today who will dig into its truth and live by its teaching.
2. God’s will is sure. Psalm 33:11 says, “The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations.” Whatever happens in 2012, we can be confident that the promises of God will always remain. No matter what circumstances we face we need to remember that God “causes all things to work together for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
3. God’s ways will always lead to a blessing. Deuteronomy 11:13-15 says, “And it shall be that if you earnestly obey My commandments which I command you today, to love the Lord your God and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul, then I will give you the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your grain, your new wine, and your oil.” If we walk in the ways God has set forth, we will be blessed. We may not see “instant blessings” but over the course of our lives, living according to God’s principles will bring the fruit of joy and security, even in the middle of trying times.
4. God’s world in winding down. Many of the situations we see in our world today are the result of the times in which we live. In what is known as His Olivet Discourse, Jesus said, “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end” Matthew 24:6. As we get closer to the Second Coming of Christ, we can expect the world to become unstable. But Jesus told us not to be afraid because these things must come to pass. They are the signs which remind us time is not circular, but linear. We are headed toward the culmination of time at the Second Coming of Christ.
5. God’s window of opportunity is now. God’s Word has a sense of urgency about it. Everything God calls us to do; He calls us to do while we have the opportunity. 2 Corinthians 6:2 says, “For He says, in an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you. Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold now is the day of salvation.” Each new day is a new opportunity for us to make a difference in this world. What will you do with your window of opportunity today?
Holding on to these five principles will give us stability in the changing world of 2012. I remember when I was growing up, watching the Macys Thanksgiving Day parade was a highlight of our family’s Thanksgiving holiday. During my college years, I finally took advantage of an opportunity to go to New York and see the parade in person. I was amazed at how many people it took to hold the giant balloons (which are always the main attraction of the parade) in their proper place. The wind would tear at the balloons, threatening to cause the people holding the ropes to lose their grip. If several of the rope holders lost their grip, the balloons would be at the mercy of the wind and would crash into the buildings on either side of the street.
It is likely we will all face the winds of change in 2012. But if we will hold tightly to these five principles we will find ourselves able to stay on course. May God give us the grace, strength, and wisdom to follow Him and serve Him this and every year.