The World in 2016
One of the things I like to do at the beginning of every year is peruse a copy of the magazine 'The World In...' published by the Economist. Apart from being an enjoyable annual ritual, it provides analysis of current cultural trends both positive and negative, and gives insight into what can be expected in the coming year. A quick scan of the contents of the 2016 edition however, makes for disturbing reading; there is more to unsettle and concern than there is to encourage and uplift. Turmoil in Syria, impending fresh economic crises, and the rise and rise of global terrorism, all feature heavily. This should serve to remind us that the world in 2016 will be a carbon copy of the world in 2015 - uncertain.
It could be that as you scan the horizon of your life, uncertain is a word that you would use too. The trials with which you will commence 2016 were non-existent at the beginning of 2015, yet now, somehow, their shadow hangs heavy over the days ahead. Maybe you've been carrying the same burden for many years, possibly decades. As you assess the future you may not be able to imagine just how you are going to emerge the other side, if you ever will. Those who have no specific burden of their own, will all have families, or a circle of friends large enough to bring us face to face with the realities of life; sickness, death, unemployment and relationship concerns, to name but a few. And here you stand having taken your first breaths in 2016 and it all looks troublesome, precipitous - uncertain.
The world has a range of techniques to master these kind of problems. One that is very popular is to visualize the 'end from the beginning,' or 'start with the end in mind.' The theory is that by transporting yourself forward in your mind and imagining that you have already emerged the other side of the challenge in front of you, you are able to give yourself the necessary fortification to deal with it and thus become the master of your own situation. This is probably a useful technique, but as Christians there is another way, a better way: set your sights upon the One who is the Beginning and the End!
The apostle John had a vision of an interaction with Him where He describes Himself as 'Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending...which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty' (Rev 1:8). The Hebrew writer refers to Him as 'Jesus Christ, the Same yesterday, and to day and for ever' (Heb 13:8) or literally 'the same and unto the ages.' Both of these titles underline the immutability of His character. He is unchanging from eternity to eternity. He is the prelude and the epilogue. He is the first word and the last.
As you survey your uncertain 2016 from one week in, remember the One to whom we have been linked and ask yourself the question; 'Can He fail?'. 'If God be for us, who can be against us?' (Rom 8:31).
Mervyn Hall is in fellowship with his wife in the assembly that meets in Hebron Gospel Hall in Bicester (UK) and is employed as a business consultant to the Healthcare industry.