As the year approaches its end, I have been reflecting back and contemplating on all the major events that happened this year both for myself and the world. A lot has happened in a year for my husband and I, and we were really tested this year.
But we have come through stronger than ever and we are looking forward to many exciting things happening next year. As for world events, I can't help but think about all the major events that happened this year.
The Ebola outbreak, killing thousands, the downing of flight MH317, the lost MH370 flight, the abduction of girls and women who were held hostage in Nigeria, the worsening of the war between Israel and Palestine, ISIS terrorism and most recently, the Martin Place hostage situation in Sydney. My heart just breaks when I watch and read news like these that is so devastating and so tragic. It absolutely tears my heart to think about all the hurt, despair and hopelessness of so many people in this world.
Yet, we carry on with our lives, like none of these ever happened. Sometimes it is easy to feel like there is nothing much we can do that would make an impact on such big and tragic events. But as Christians, we can do two very small things despite feeling like there is nothing much we can do. Hopefully we can be encouraged to do these things as the year ends and beyond.
We can 1) Pray. Pray for those who are hurt, hopeless and in despair. 2) Give hope; be a source of light in an otherwise dark world that we live in. As it says in 2 Corinthians 4 verse 6 "For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."
Two small things we can do in the face of adversity and distress to humanity:
For it says in Psalm 32 verse 6: "Therefore let everyone who is godly pray to you while you may be found; surely when the mighty waters rise, they will not reach him." As it is said, when we pray, our prayers filled with faith goes out to a God that not only hears our prayers but answers them too. As godly believers of Christ, prayer has power and prayer in number has even greater power.
It may not seem much, but there are times where all I needed to do was pray and seek God and He never allowed my deep waters to reach me. Sometimes when everything is stacked up against you and pushes you down to your knees, you are in the perfect position to pray.
Even when sometimes you feel too distraught to pray like how I feel sometimes, it is alright. For God knows what is in our hearts and He gives us the Spirit to intercede on behalf of us. As in Romans chapter 8 verse 26 "In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express."
Giving hope to others to me is being able to emphasise and comfort others who are suffering. When one feels alone and desolate in their perils and sufferings, it is easy for them to feel like nobody cares and there is no hope. Some even lose their will to live. One small way we as Christians can give hope to others is by understanding their sufferings.
As it says in 2 Corinthians 1 verse 6 "If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer." And in understanding the sufferings of others, we give hope. And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort" - 2 Corinthians 1 verse 7.
At the end of the day, all our sufferings do not go unnoticed by God. We as Christians believe and know that our hope is not in a decaying world but in an everlasting God. As it says in 2 Corinthians 4 verse 7-9 "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed."
We have faith that even through the most adverse of times, our treasures of hope is indestructible.
As the year comes to an end, I pray that the power and mercy of God be with all those who have perished through the evil acts of others and through natural disasters.
May we as Christians, as jars of clay, forever be able to give hope and continue to pray for all the lost souls. And may the new year bring more greatness and glory to God than we can ever imagine.
Clarissa Yates is from Singapore but moved to live in Perth, Western Australia in 2008. Clarissa completed a BSc. in Molecular Biology at the University of Western Australia and is now working as a Graduate Research Assistant at the University of Western Australia, where she is part of a research team studying therapies for lung cancer.
Clarissa Yates' previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/clarissa-yates.html