Christian Articles Archive

Two Constants in the New Millennium

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson

New Year's celebration in Times Square A full century ago my great, great grandfather reminisced in a New Year's sermon over the changes he had witnessed in his 79 years.

"Our letters were sealed with wax, and postage was 15 cents. There were no stamps, no envelopes, no steel pens, but our thoughts were 'wafted on the pinions of a gray goose quill.' The typewriter, photograph, telephone and telegraph have been invented. In college I saw Morse's horse-shoe magnet," he recalled. Perhaps you can remember the first televisions. Today the Internet shrinks the globe.

"The first of the century grass was cut by a scythe; grain by a sickle, and thrashed with a flail," recounted the Rev. Charles Henry de Long. "I remember cradling my father's wheat and holding horses to tread out the grain." Today huge combines do the work of many men.

My 93-year-old mother can remember her father's horse and buggy. In our lifetimes men have walked on the moon, and every five years our scientific knowledge doubles.

What has been constant throughout the past century? Change. Yet the pace of change itself seems to be accelerating.

How do we prepare for change?

One of my heroes is Joshua. Moses, that towering figure who had led Israel for 40 years, was dead. Now his assistant had to step into Moses' giant sandals and assume leadership in the most precarious and unsettling of times. Israel was about to cross the Jordan River at flood stage and attack the heavily fortified city of Jericho. The Israelites had been slaves, then desert nomads. What did they know of war? They couldn't stay where they were, but to go where God was leading was frightening, fraught with change.

God prepared Joshua with these words: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9).

Change is one constant, but the other constant is God himself, the One who never changes, who sees the end from the beginning, and for whom the future holds no surprises. God has made us a solemn promise: to be with us always. That promise holds wherever we are, and is not invalidated by the unexpected. In whatever success we enjoy, amidst whatever failure we suffer, God has promised to be there with us.

I really don't like roller coasters. I don't like to scream all the way down. I don't like fear. Unfortunately, life in the new millennium is likely to be that kind of ride, with its dizzying heights, its gut wrenching turns, and its freefall downslopes. But we have a seatmate who is God himself, there to steady us, protect us, and guide us. Today he repeats to us those timeless words that echo across the centuries and millennia: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

 

Copyright © 1985-2014, Ralph F. Wilson. <pastor@joyfulheart.com> All rights reserved. A single copy of this article is free. Do not put this on a website. See legal, copyright, and reprint information.

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