Most of us have already read the commonly repeated statement found in the news all over North America. “2016 was one of the worst years,” said one paper. Others echoed the same sentiment. In general, people seem to be saying they are glad to finally have this awful year behind us.
The reason so many are saying this has to do with the war in Syria and the resulting refugee crisis. Some cite the most caustic U.S. election in memory, and the rise of so-called “populist politics.” Still others point to “Brexit,” the politics and the events surrounding the “Black Lives Matter” controversy, the trucks driven by terrorists mowing down innocent people in both France and then later in Germany, the new Ebola cases found in Africa and the horrible savagery of ISIS. Then of course there were the terrorist attacks in Turkey. The year ends with the outgoing U.S. president condemning Israel. The list of bad things can easily be compiled. It does seem like a bleak year indeed.
So was 2016 really one of the worst years ever? I couldn’t disagree more. For one, we can certainly point to years that were far worse than 2016. And for another, I believe in the meticulous sovereignty of God. Even though the enemy of our souls rages and seeks the undoing of the human race, our God remains on his sovereign throne. The fact that this year wasn’t millions of times worse than it was is due to the mercy and kindness of our God. As Jeremiah wrote in Lamentations 3:22, “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.” (NIV)
And so, what should we look forward to in 2017? According to Rolling Stone magazine, 2017 will be worse than 2016. Now, given that I think that the Rolling Stone editorial staff has no prophets on its writing team, I am going to assume they have no idea of what will happen this year. But just in case you are among the worriers, I am going to list my predictions for 2017, all of which I assure you will come to pass.
1. We will be one year closer to the second coming of Christ.
2. God will arrange all things this year for His glory and the eternal good of His saints.
3. Even though the church will continue to be persecuted, the church will continue to remain Christ’s chosen bride and the object of His delight.
4. Anyone who is in Christ and passes away this year will find that their sins were paid for in the cross, and will enter into the eternal bliss prepared for them from before the foundations of the world.
5. The Holy Spirit will continue to draw men and women to Christ from every nation, language and tongue.
6. All who have faith in Christ will continue to have free access to God’s throne of grace and find their prayers answered.
7. Christ will continue to intercede before the Father on behalf of His elect.
It for all of these reasons, and so many more, that I look forward with joy and anticipation to the coming of 2017. Unlike so many who have no hope, we know that the best days are still ahead!