Are you used to saying 2013 yet? Or, are you still writing 2012? Oops! We are creatures of habit, aren’t we? I don’t know about you, but even though I know it’s 2013, I still have to remind myself that it’s not 2012 any more.
In many ways, we can be glad 2012 is over and that 2013 means we get to make a fresh new start. Last year saw many tragedies and disasters on the world scene we’d just as soon forget.
But we cannot erase the sad memories of those mass murders that took the lives of so many innocent victims, shattering the lives of their survivors, creating shock and sorrow which rippled all throughout America and beyond. From a mass killing at a movie theatre in Colorado, to a mall shooting in Oregon, to a shooting at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and then the massacre at a school in Newtown, Connecticut just last month, the year of 2012 saw its share of violence. In fact, it is reported there were at least 18 mass murder events in the U.S. in 2012. (Joel C. Rosenberg)
Speaking of violence, I can’t help but be reminded of Jesus’ warning that as we get closer to the time of his return it will be like the days of Noah. One of the reasons God sent the flood and brought judgement upon mankind is because society was so infested with violence.
“The Earth was corrupt [with moral corruption] before God, and the Earth was filled with violence. So God looked upon the Earth, and indeed it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way on the Earth. And God said to Noah, ‘The end of all flesh has come before Me, for the Earth is filled with violence through them; and behold, I will destroy them with the Earth. . .’” Gen. 6:11-13. (Compare this scene with the “last days” described in Second Timothy 3:1-5.)
Interestingly, God did send a “natural” disaster to cleanse the evil from the earth. Had God not intervened, the whole world would have destroyed itself. So, in reality, God was saving mankind from mankind by sending the flood yet sparing Noah—the righteous man of faith who found grace in the eyes of the Lord—and his family (Gen. 6:8).
Natural disasters are often a wake-up call to the fact that no matter how prepared we might think we are, we are still vulnerable and need God’s help when they occur. Live Science reported, “Hurricane Sandy, a late-season post-tropical cyclone, swept through the Caribbean and up the East Coast of the United States in late October 2012. The storm left dozens dead, thousands homeless and millions without power. Total damage is expected to be in the billions of dollars.
“Death toll: The death toll from Sandy as of Nov. 1 was at least 149. The confirmed deaths include 42 in New York; 12 in New Jersey; nine in Maryland; six in Pennsylvania; five in West Virginia; four in Connecticut; two in Virginia; and one in North Carolina. One person died in Canada, and at least 67 people were killed in the Caribbean, including 54 in Haiti.”
When such a disaster happens—as devastating and horrible as it is—people tend to turn to God as well as to one another for support and strength: People gather for prayer vigils, churches overflow with persons seeking spiritual direction, charities pour out aid and relief, and everyone sets aside their differences regardless of political and philosophical views.
I find it incredible that while prayer and Bible reading are banned in public schools, these actions are not even questioned when a heart-wrenching tragedy takes place. All of a sudden, you see prayer circles on school grounds, and politicians quoting scriptures to give comfort to grieving families. Why can’t people get it through their heads that allowing God, prayer, and Bible reading back into our schools just might help to prevent the crimes taking place there and, in effect, the loss that results?
I mean, what’s so wrong with teaching, “Thou shalt not kill,” anyway? Just think of it: There would be no need for gun laws if this one simple “law” was ingrained into the minds and consciences of our children. I believe it is not a coincidence that ever since anything considered Christian has been banned in our schools that bloody massacres are now erupting.
A look back at the tragedies and disasters of 2012 ought to help us learn how to keep trusting God and relying on him for guidance, wisdom, and power now that we’ve plunged into 2013. Like the British philosophical founder of political conservatism, Sir Edmund Burke (1729-1797), declared: “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.”
For sure, the history of yesteryear teaches us important lessons learned today so that we may be prepared for God’s tomorrow. When we learn from the past, we can move ahead with confidence without repeating the same mistakes over again in 2012…oops, I mean, 2013!
Each year that goes by, we get closer to the Lord’s glorious return. It also means that as each year goes by, we should be growing closer to the Lord in our relationship with him. Or, as Paul put it and as we can say, as well, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 4:14, New International Version).
Have a Blessed New Year and Good News to you!