Do you find it difficult to stay positive sometimes? For many of us, the challenges of the last 24 months have taken their toll. It can sometimes feel like two years have almost blurred into one. There is plenty of doom and gloom. But as Christians, we need to remember that God is still on the throne, and He’s still working.
There is so much more going on in this world than just what we see. That’s the good news! It might seem a bit grim down here on planet Earth, but God is still at work. He’s doing great things and achieving his purposes.
Bill Muehlenberg from Culture Watch joined us on 20Twenty to share his perspective on the big issues facing Christians in our world today. Bill believes that our perception of what’s happening around us depends a lot on our knowledge of church history.
Many Christians believe this is in fact the end times, but in the book of Revelation the opening words say these are things that ‘must take place soon’. We’ve had about a 2000-year gap so far from when that was first written.
In a sense, we’ve been living in the last days for the past two millennia. And there have been a whole lot of very dark periods along the way. For Australia, things have been harder now than more so in our recent history.
“If you look at the world from the time of Christ till today,” says Bill “there’s been some pretty gloomy periods. It looked like faith was about to be stamped out altogether. Taking the longer-term perspective, things have been pretty bad in the last year or two. Yet, all things considered, they’ve been worse and could get worse again.”
Bill believes we tend to focus on the immediate and forget there has been a long past. It’s possible there may be a long future as well. There are many historical elements to draw on. But Christians who see tough times as the imminent return of Jesus often separate themselves.
“They become part of a holy enclave, waiting until the storm passes,” says Bill. “They sometimes give up places of influence and don’t plan ahead. The past is the best guide we have to the present and the future. Of course, knowing scripture will help us to take the right steps.”
Bill believes those who step out in faith to be overseas missionaries or to set up a Bible College or plant a church are probably wise to go ahead. There are many scriptural teachings to count on. Jesus told us to keep busy with the work of the Kingdom until He returns.
Even if Jesus is coming very soon, we need to do the work of the kingdom. Jesus said no one knows the day or the hour. Therefore, it’s wise to proceed as if He may or may not come. In the meantime, there’s plenty of work to be done.
Bill says that in the last two years dealing with Covid, we’ve seen that a good crisis never goes to waste. Governments love an emergency. It gives them a chance to consolidate their own power, to really restrict the freedoms of the people.
“We just have to be careful,” he says. “Little did we know that almost two years on we’d still be going through this. We couldn’t have seen how far things would go. Governments have stripped away basic human rights and freedoms, all in the name of keeping us safe.”
Governments do have a role to play in keeping us safe, but they can overstep the boundaries. We should always have the right to choose what is injected into our own bodies.
“The greatest news of all of course is that God has not forsaken us,” says Bill. “He has not forgotten about us. The God who created us came down to our level so that he could reach us. He can lead us out of our hopeless, helpless situation.”
“That is something worth celebrating every year.”