It’s December 31st and I’m feeling nostalgic.
At this time of year, the world seems to breathe a sigh of hopefulness. Everyone is excited for the New Year to begin.
It’s not as if we are given a free slate at the stroke of midnight. Last year’s problems and mistakes will carry over to next year – we won’t escape that easily.
Some might even bring in their new year with more mistakes. I wonder how many people will begin 2014 with their head in a toilet.
And a New Year means we’re all a year closer to dying. Of course, if you’re faith is in Christ, then that’s exciting. But there’s a dying world outside my window with no idea where they’re going. And that’s terrifying.
Is it loving to prevent a person’s death, or is it loving to let death have its course without warning? If a doctor did not inform his patient of their terminal illness from fear of upsetting them, has he acted rightly? Would you prefer to know that you’re dying so that you could prepare for the inevitable?
We’re all dying. We all have a terminal illness called sin. But we have a cure and early intervention can do wonders.
When my uncle went through chemotherapy, he told my mother that the “treatment was worse than the disease”. Salvation is not comfortable. It’s not a free pass to security if we take the necessary steps and fill in the blanks once a year. It’s not fire insurance. Sometimes, it can feel worse than the disease.
Look at the wretchedness of this world. The imprisonment of righteous men, the worldwide slaughter of Christians, and the prosperity of the wicked. Those who do right in the eyes of God, are punished by the sinfulness that rules this world, as David lamented in Psalm 73.
But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
For there are no pangs in their death but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men, nor are they plagued like other men.
Therefore pride serves as their necklace; violence covers them like a garment. Their eyes bulge with abundance; they have more than their heart could wish.
They scoff and speak wickedly concerning oppression; they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walks through the earth.
(v.12) …Behold, these are the ungodly, who are always at ease; they increase in riches. Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence.
For all day I have been plagued, and chastened every morning.
(v.16)…When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me – until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end.
Surely, You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awakes, so Lord, when You awake, You shall despise their image…
Psalm 73:2-20 (KJV)
Look at the life of Job, whose only crime was his righteousness. It does not seem fair that bad things happen to good people. But death is in us all, and the capacity to do evil is innate within us. This world operates out of destruction and though it looks like prosperity now, it will not always be so.
There is a way that seems right to man, but its end is the way of death.
Proverbs 14:12 (KJV)
We have the Truth that will open up the eyes of the damned. It is unpopular, and it seems to many to be the opposite of freedom. But in reality, it is the very essence of freedom and life abundantly! No matter how unpopular it makes us, are we willing to inform people of their death sentence and give them the antidote?
This New Year’s, make an effort to make a difference.