“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33
In his latest briefing to the General Assembly on Priorities for 2023, the Secretary General of the UN stated the world has never been closer to extinction in history as evidenced by the fact that the Doomsday clock that was created 76 years ago by atomic scientists is now 90 seconds to total global catastrophe. This is partly due to the fact that more than 13,000 nuclear weapons are held in arsenals around the world. Russia has made repeated threats to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine which would lead to a large global war with catastrophic consequences for the whole world.
With civil unrest, war, mass shootings, natural disasters, uncontrollable climate change, political conflict, violence and poverty worsening in every part of the world, we are indeed on the edge of destruction. The civil war in Syria has claimed over 300,000 lives since 2011. The war in the Ukraine has claimed thousands of lives as well. So far, more that 5000 people have perished from the earthquake in Turkey and Syria.
The world as we know it is yet again on the edge of disaster. Despite two world wars, this is the first time in world history that this planet is on the edge of total destruction. Indeed, never before, has the planet faced extinction from the large number of nuclear weapons in arsenals around the world. Yet, I am hopeful because of the words of Jesus in John 16:33.
Jesus predicted the world would be on the edge of destruction toward the end of his earthly ministry. Yet he encouraged His disciples to maintain their Jesus-joy because He will give them His peace in their time of trouble. Indeed, what keeps believers hopeful and joyful is our faith and trust that Jesus has overcome the world and will give us His peace amid global disaster.
Believers should not give in to despair when they are perplexed by the evil that is proliferating around the world. Because of Jesus, we should remain hopeful in suffering, faithful in trials, and joyful in sorrow. Only God has the authority and power to destroy the world. In Revelation 21:1, John tells us, Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea.”
Until then, we have to trust that God is in control despite the imminent threat of destruction the world is now facing. Believers should not give in to cynicism or go off the grid. We are kingdom workers and saved to do Jesus’ great commission work. For us to live is Christ, and death is but a gain (Philippians 1:21). Therefore, we should keep on feeding the hungry, take care of the poor and needy, make disciples by the proclamation of the gospel, and be fully committed to the work of ministry.
No one knows when the end is going to come. What we do know is that believers are guaranteed a glorious life with Jesus whenever He decides to transition us from this physical realm to heaven. In the meantime, we must continue to love like Jesus loved, pray like Jesus prayed, proclaim the gospel as Jesus did, and let our light shine to instill hope in this evil world.
While it is true that the world is on the edge of destruction, it is also true that the world is on the edge of total redemption from wickedness. Jesus told His disciples in Luke 21:25-28, “There will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time, they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
Questions for Personal Reflection
How are you managing the stress related to the disasters in the world?
What promise do believers have about the end of time in the Bible?
Prayer- Blessed Lord, thank you for the hope I have in you in these difficult times. May your peace continue to strengthen me in this time of war and bloodshed around the world. Please give hope to the hopeless and release your joy all over the world.