Daniel declared, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea..."...and the voice of the Master:
But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
We're back in the seat on January 2nd of 2016, looking at the horizon of a new year. We can only hope and pray for a better year than the one that is now a matter of history. Retrospectively, it was a blessing to watch a wee bundle of a baby grow into a wobbler and now a toddler as Jackson now walks on his own. It was also a blessing (and a stretching) to travel by car with an eight year-old an seven month-old early in the summer. These were like shafts of sunlight that we see sometimes when looking at dark, iron-gray overcast skies enveloping our horizons.
2015. a year where hope and optimism seemed to have died. Our world was seemingly plunged into a grip of fear and uncertainty as we watched parts of the globe overrun by a medieval horde that seemed to rise out of the 8th Century. Were this not bad enough, we had to endure a feckless response on the part of our Republic's leadership which lacks the fundamental understanding that there are times when it is absolutely essential to join in co-belligerency with one like Mr. Putin to defeat a cancer like ISIS.
Those who've read the book before seeing this all unfold already know that this season of fear descending upon us was foretold thousand's of years ago. They know of the perilous times, the fact that fear in this time will cause many hearts to fail, and that the love of many will grow cold in this time of trial. They also know that these are not signs of the end, but signs of the beginning of the end. But of paramount importance, they know that in this coming age, we're called to perseverance and endurance.
There was a time in my life when I was an ardent subscriber of John Nelson Darby's teachings on the "Rapture of the Church". Succinctly, this teaching asserts that the Lord's faithful will be translated and taken up into Heaven for seven years as searing judgement is meted out against Satan and who had rejected our Lord's salvation. I've come to reject Darby's teachings on the Rapture for a number of reasons, too broad to be listed in this piece. I believe his teachings have caused many churches to become insular and not reaching out to the fallen world around them with the heart and hands of The Christ.
So what then? I believe that the creation around us is finite, with a point of origin and an expiration date. As stated in the historic creeds of Christianity, that the Almighty God will return to judge the quick and the dead and that His kingdom will not end. I cannot or will not state that He's going to do this in 2016. I can and will say this; He has called those of His kingdom to patience, faithfulness, and endurance in the face of whatever may come, and He has promised His salvation to those who will.
Though the temptation will be strong, don't be discouraged or loose your heart in 2016.