2015 was a historic and eventful year for the whole world. The year began with the on-going conflict in Ukraine, the Charlie Hebdo attack, and greater unrest in the Middle East in January. By mid-year, the culture wars in the US experienced a game-changing sentiment towards social policy as the Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage legal in all states.
Meanwhile in the Asia, presidents of China and Taiwan meet for the first time since the Chinese civil war, while Japan slumped into yet another recession with little hope of improving. The Parramatta and Martin Place shootings also sent alarm bells ringing in Australian society.
By November, the Islamic State, or Daesh, continued to fight the West and Russia joins Syria to retake Syrian land. In the midst of the conflict a new turn in the New Cold War also came when Turkey shot down a Russian jet. Not even France was immune to the turmoil, as the recent Paris attacks sent further shockwaves throughout the world.
Where is hope?
As I witnessed these events I asked myself, where is hope? Where is security?
God's word reminds us that peace and security shouldn't be taken for granted and Christians need to be on guard:
While people are saying, "There is peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them as labour pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape." (1 Thessalonians chapter 5, verse 3)
Jesus reminds us:
You will hear of wars and rumours of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.
At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew chapter 24, verses 4–14)
Are we living in the end times?
I personally would say yes. I am not sure what to do in the midst of so much change because even the Church isn't immune from this turmoil. Even in churches, God-honouring traditions and biblical teaching are being thrown out for the sake of political correctness or social justice.
There is much to fear, yet there is much to hope for. We shouldn't let fear control us, but instead remind us that there is an urgency in our time for the Gospel to continue. We need to step up in our efforts to let our friends and family know that security can only be found in the true God, that is Christ, and not through any national security or armies.
My prayer for 2016 is not for peace or security, but for Christ to come again and bring an end to the violence and chaos that increases year by year. I hope that I can respond with love, and courage, for those I know. May you have a blessed Christmas and a safe New Year.
Jack is studying Commerce and Arts at Macquarie University, he is part of a family of five, his hobbies include computer gaming, football, learning languages, and church history. He sometimes also attends St Paul's Anglican at Burwood. He seeks to more deeply understand his faith through exploration of church history.
Jack Liang's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jack-liang.html