Murder, terror, lies, scandal, corruption, exploitation, pollution, greed – there is a long list of problems this world faces today and it is only getting longer.
Of course there are exceptions – people who help and support those in need around them or further afield. This can be on a large scale or on a personal level, and for a variety of reasons.
But the evening goes on and the shadows lengthen and the flickering lights that try their best to repel the darkness seem dimmer and fewer than they did yesterday. Despair is just a news report away and although I want to change the world for the better it seems like there are too many people bent on changing it for the worse.
Jesus prophesies in Matthew 24:6-7, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.”
It is easy to take a fatalistic world view and say that since bad stuff is going to happen, why not let it happen? It can be tempting to sit around twiddling my thumbs and finding things to distract myself from the suffering around me until God decides it’s time to put everything right again.
But no, that’s not how it works. In 2 Peter 3:11-12 it says, “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat?”
Life is not a waiting room. God has plans for me here on this earth. He has something He wants me to do. And by walking according to God’s will for me I can bring that day a little closer; the day when all the tears are dried and the sorrows are put right.
“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4. What a far cry from the world today. And oh, how glorious it will be to live in such a state!
A new heaven and a new earth. No more dictators or terrorists, no more famine, disease, or starvation. No more broken families, no more poverty, no war. Where do these things come from if not from anger, pride, greed, and every other sin that dwells in us? But when this is gone we are left with only peace and joy and happiness.
And through a godly life I can not only bring that day closer but I can also do my part now on earth. “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:14-15.
Walk as He walked
Yes, the world is growing darker and hope is hard to find these days. I may not be able to cure cancer or solve world hunger. But I can do something. The best and most effective way to make a difference now is to walk as He walked, to be pure as He is pure. To do things without complaining and disputing, to live blameless and harmless, to walk in holy conduct and godliness. Then God’s glory will shine through me and I will truly be a light in this world.
And then wherever God leads me, through the small situations every single day people can look at me and see that light. By my life I can show that though sin is destroying and corrupting everything around them, God is still doing miracles.
And those miracles that God does in me are that He transforms me, my very nature, into something new. So that every time I am tempted to be irritated, or angry, or proud, I can deny those thoughts and God will make it so the sin in me dies and I become transformed, that much more, into His image. In many ways, this is the greatest miracle of all. (See 2 Peter 1:4.)
Satan will be crushed
As long as Satan is free to do as he pleases the world will not be a perfect place. Sin destroys so much. But I can still do my part. It may not seem like much, but the little, daily miracles do make a difference.
When I have given my life to God, I have turned from darkness to light, and Satan has lost his power over my life. This is demonstrated in the circumstances of day-to-day life. It may not come with a fanfare of trumpets and a lot of honor or praise, but every victory I have over self-seeking and sin in my own life is another crushing blow for Satan. (Romans 16:19-20)
Nobody can solve all the world’s problems alone, but we can do our share and together that is God’s plan for salvation for His whole creation. So, either I am one of those faithful disciples, who are along in crushing Satan’s power underfoot, or I live for myself and I am along in strengthening it. The choice is mine. And that choice is made every day.
And even though it is almost night and the shadows seem deeper and darker than ever, those who are obedient to God, those who walk in holy conduct and godliness shine brighter than suns on the earth. The light that comes from being blameless before God does not flicker; it does not waver in the face of the darkness. Though they may be few and far between, they shine all the brighter, and though the night is long, hope is not lost. God has a plan. God knows what He is doing. And He is using people who faithfully do His will to carry out that plan.
“Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” 2 Peter 3:13.