New Year, Same World

Posted on January 8, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin in Rankin Connecting

RankinConnectingWouldn’t it be wonderful if changing the pages on our calendar represented a change in our world and society? The transition from one year to another is represented by a old man with a long beard, indicating the passing year was really a booger, leaving him aged and decrepit. The new year portrayed, as a baby in diapers, would have us to believe that we are starting all over again with wide-open options for renewal.

Certainly a new year, just like every new day, is a opportunity for us to make changes, determine to put away old habits, make improvements and strive to be a better person. But that takes more than changing the digits on the calendar. The reality is, we are basically the same person we were in 2012 and we live in the same world.

The most prominent issue as the calendar changes is the economy and the national debt. Years of funding entitlements and feeding an overgrown government beyond our resources have brought us to a financial crisis of unfathomable proportions. The continuing stalemate between fiscal conservatives and liberal socialists seems inevitable with the strengthened resolve of each and hardened battle lines. Meanwhile, grassroots citizens are victimized by higher taxes, continuing unemployment, a stagnant economy and imposed healthcare premiums.

We would like to think that 2013 is the year things will turn around, politicians will begin to gain some common sense and seek to serve the greater good, but the reality is likely to be another year of kicking the can farther down the road, leaving the problems for someone else to solve. Secularism will continue to gain strength and represent the majority of our country, and religious rights will continue to diminish. Much that has been respected as personal religious convictions must now be forfeited due to being deemed offensive to a small minority of non-believing objectors.

Each new year echoes with visions of world peace, but it is the same world we knew in 2012 characterized by ethnic violence, religious conflicts, and political turmoil. Tensions between Jews and Palestinians are more intense and volatile than ever. Western powers don’t seem to know what to do with the enigma of a saber-rattling Iran or a rocket-launching North Korea. We are intimidated by the growing influence and economic impact of China and continue to struggle with a war against an elusive global terrorist enemy.

It is the same world we lived in last year, and there is scarcely any basis for optimism that things will be any different. At least we don’t have to endure the constant rhetoric of a presidential campaign. But hurricanes and tornadoes will still wreak havoc, and the media will continue to spew garbage, violence and immorality in the name of entertainment.

There is not a lot we can do personally about the messed up world, but this is not cause for pessimism; we can do something about the world we live in–our world. We cannot be responsible for the incompetence of politicians and global tyrants, but we can vow to walk in integrity, selflessly serve others and practice conscientious citizenship. And we can continue to trust in God who is sovereign over heaven and earth and has not relinquished His throne!

Our church encouraged reading through the Bible this past year. It is amazing how a quick read puts Biblical history in perspective. When God’s people rebelled and suffered the consequences of disobedience, they found themselves defeated and in bondage, sometimes for generations. Prosperity and God’s blessings were forfeited for hundreds of years, but God was not deterred from His redemptive purpose and ultimate restoration. We want things changed immediately. But realistically, it won’t happen today and probably not this year. It may not even be our generation that sees a return to fiscal responsibility, global conflicts resolved and a nation that honors God, but we must not lose faith in what a new year can bring.

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