Time markers are unavoidable: Birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and new years. We celebrate all of them, but when the party’s over, we’re reminded that life is short, and how we invest it is so important. The psalmist puts it this way: Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom (Psalm 90.12, NLT).
As we commence a new year, I reflect on this life – which King David described as “like grass,” which “when the wind has passed over it, it is no more” (Psalm 103.15-16). We flourish for a day, then step into eternity. Tombstones give ‘bookends’ – the day we are born and the day we die. The ‘dash’ in-between those two dates is where we are now. How quickly it passes!
As I look to the year ahead, the first thing that comes to mind is the departure of Gary Armstrong to pastor Burleson Bible Church. The years Gary and Chela have spent in New Braunfels have been a blessing to all of us – most of all me. I rejoice in the knowledge that Burleson will finally, after two years’ searching, have a pastor who expounds and exhibits grace, but I will miss Gary’s sincerity, humor, and concern for people. Although separated by miles, we will continue to share a passion for teaching truth, and reaching the world for Christ.
Speaking of the world, we are on the cusp of cosmic events. On December 6th, 1941, no one was expecting Japan to attack Pearl Harbor. On September 10th, 2001, no one imagined planes filled with passengers flying into the twin towers in New York. What will happen next? I don’t think we will have long to wait. The tinderbox of international unrest could explode at any moment. China, Russia, and Iran are just three nations preparing to attack other countries.
On top of this, 2021 has witnessed an unparalleled increase in domestic unrest in America – huge increases in murder, violent crimes, illegal immigration, and economic instability. If you’re like me, you suspect this portends troubling days ahead. The defining issue of my entire adult life, abortion, is set to explode. Many states are trying to restrict abortion; the federal government is using all its power to maintain the unrestricted killing of the unborn. The Supreme Court, which first unleashed this curse on our nation, may soon reverse itself. If it does, expect Satan, who has the power of death (Heb. 2.14) to incite more violent riots.
For New Braunfels Bible Church, 2022 will bring new challenges. In the last two years we’ve faced the ongoing COVID pandemic and the destruction of our main auditorium last February. Through it all, I have been literally amazed at the way the body of Christ here at NBBC has risen to the challenge – God is so evident in all of you! We don’t know what the coming year will bring, but this I know: God’s truth in His Word is unchanging, and the Good News of the gift of eternal life received through faith in Jesus Christ is for all mankind. We have the answers to sin and the problems of the world, and we will continue to proclaim them.
Living in such uncertain days, we take our stand on the ‘Rock’ of our Savior, Jesus Christ. We confidently rest in the knowledge that God is sovereign over history, and will one day – perhaps very soon – wrap up this age and take those who are His to be with Him forever. “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev. 22.20)
The force of evil in this world
May seem too great to you;
But don’t despair, for Christ may come