31st December 2014

Don’t Fear The Future

“’Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.’  Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, ‘Follow me!’”
John 21:18-19 (NIV)

How was 2014 for you?

On the world stage we’ve seen conflicts in Gaza, Ukraine, Syria and Iraq. We have had the outbreak of Ebola in Africa, and the threat of global terrorism looms large. Perhaps the saying ‘out with the old and in with the new’ has never been so needed.

But what are the prospects for 2015? With the old year gone and the new one about to begin will things be different? Certainly the blank pages of 2015 lie open before us, as yet unsullied, but what hope is there for the year ahead?

In a world of uncertainty the words of two hymns give me great comfort. Isaac Watts wrote, ‘O God, our help in ages past, Our hope for years to come, Our shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal home’.

And Thomas Chisholm wrote, ‘Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father; There is no shadow of turning with Thee; Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not; As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be’.

Whatever the future holds for the world in the coming year it strengthens me to know that ‘God is my hope for the year to come’ and that ‘his compassion will not fail for he is faithful forever’.

We don’t need to fear the future as long as we trust God. The above verses in John’s gospel are a prediction of Peter’s death by crucifixion. Despite what Peter’s future held, Jesus told him to follow him. I think this is an important message to us for the year ahead. We may be uncertain and fearful about the future but if we know God is in control, we can confidently follow Christ whatever 2015 brings.

The words of another song come to mind – “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” – attributed to the Indian missionary Sadhu Sundar Singh. The lyrics are based on the last words of a man in Assam, north-east India, who along with his family was converted to Christianity in the middle of the 19th century.  Called to renounce his faith by the village chief, the convert declared, “I have decided to follow Jesus.” In response to threats to his family, he continued, “Though no one joins me, still I will follow.” His wife was killed, and he was executed while singing, “The cross before me, the world behind me.” This display of faith is reported to have led to the conversion of the chief and others in the village. Here are some of the words: ‘I have decided to follow Jesus; Though I may wonder, I still will follow; The world behind me, the cross before me; Though none go with me, still I will follow; Will you decide now to follow Jesus? No turning back, no turning back’.

Let’s decide to follow Jesus in 2015.

Father, as we dedicate the year ahead to you please give us a heart to follow Jesus wherever he leads.

Study by Barry Robinson


 barryrobinsonAbout the Author:
Barry Robinson is an Elder in and pastoral worker in the Greater London area, particularly the Camberwell and North London congregations of the Worldwide Church of God UK.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Camberwell
The Salvation Army Hall
105 Lomond Grove

Meeting time:
Saturday 11 am

Local Congregational Contact:
Barry Robinson
Email:  barry_robinson@wcg.org.uk

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