Andy Tran

University Seventh-day
Adventist Church

Rough times behind, Rough times ahead


Rough times behind, Rough times ahead

Dec 26, 2016Thoughts

2016 was a very rough year, no matter where you stand on any issue. To address the big elephant in the room, this election cycle was the most arduous of all, filled with disrespect, mudslinging, and more. Happy or not with the outcome, we endured a rough year.

Why 2016 was rough

This year we lost many famous people, and for some of us, those close to our lives. Here in Michigan the Flint water crisis escalated to its highest yet, as we realize that an entire generation of people will have stunted mental growth due to exorbitant levels of lead in their drinking water. Drought stricken areas have led to extreme rationing in some cases, with prospects looking bleak. Hurricane Matthew wiped through the southeast, destroying property among other things. Natural disasters elsewhere have led to billions of dollars in damages. Movements regarding which lives matter and drawing attention to disadvantaged peoples have led to nationwide protests calling for justice and accountability. We could continue but suffice to say, 2016 has been a very rough year.

The good and bad news

We have good news and bad news. First the bad news. It will only going to get worse. The Bible predicts that rough times precede the Second Coming. We’ve written about this before (Thief in the Night). We wonder how things can possibly get worse. Yet, the Bible says it will get worse before getting better.

At the same time, we have good news. John 16:33 reveals a comforting message from Jesus. Despite the scary signs that lay ahead, we should not fear. Why? Because Jesus overcame the world. He emerged victorious over satan at the cross, saving those who accept His sacrifice. And He already declared His return, promising to wipe away every tear from our eyes. Sin will be gone. Earth will be made new. Those that love God will spend eternity with Him. World peace will be achieved. The devil will be no more. And we will learn more about the depths of God’s love.

What you can do

We currently live in a middle ground period. As we wait for the second coming, we must endure the rough trials that face us today. To get to the fulfillment of the good news, we must:

  1. Resolve to connect daily with God. Through foundational elements such as prayer and Bible study, we can through God’s grace make it through the tough times. As in an airplane, you must put on your oxygen mask first before assisting others, you cannot help others in their spiritual walk if you are not equipped yourself.
  2. Resolve to assist others where we can. You have past experiences and encounters with God. These occurred in your life to reveal more to you about God’s love. Use these to encourage others who struggle in similar areas. Listen to their concerns. Do not oversimplify their experiences. If you cannot offer any advice, be there for them.
  3. Resolve to reduce areas of your life that hurt more than help you. Smartphones, TVs, computers, and other devices improve communication and access information. However, when left unchecked they can easily take control of your life. We recognize the value of technology in our world today, but remain disturbed by its side effects. Limiting screen time for non-productive tasks and choosing other alternatives (reading, praying, outdoor activities, etc) will improve your health.
  4. Resolve to take care of your temple. Witnessing is not only done through speaking and sharing. Nonverbal witnessing often speaks louder than words ever will. A NEWSTART (Nutrition, Exercise, Water, Sunshine, Temperance, Air, Rest, Trust in Divine Power) experience will help fulfill the “light shining before men” vision that Jesus discussed in Matthew 5.

Accept the past, speed up the future

We can do in our lives today to ease the bumpiness that is scheduled to appear between now and when Jesus comes. Acknowledge that this year was difficult for many. While we do not get a do-over, we can look forward to our Redeeming Hope that we are one year closer to the event that our hearts have desired for many years. When that day comes, we will finally be able to let loose and say,

Behold. This is our God. We have waited for Him. And He will save us.



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