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FEARS OF THE FUTURE

It is said that the younger generation suffer from a chronic fear of the future. The commonest form is the fear of Climate Change and Global Warming, that in their life-time the planet will not be habitable for human beings any more. Then there is the fear of nuclear war. This fear is not as pervasive perhaps as it was a generation ago during the Cold War, but events like the invasion of Ukraine and the response of the West, have brought the possibility of us all being obliterated by nuclear war back into our consciousness. Thirdly, we are now much more aware of the danger of pandemics: unknown diseases appearing, either naturally, or man-made for evil purposes. The latest scare about the future is the fear of Artificial Intelligence or AI: computers or machines that take control over us.

All these fears of course are manifestations of the fear of death itself, but yet they loom larger than the fear of our own individual deaths because they refer to the potential end of life on the planet. How realistic these fears are is a matter of debate, but they all touch on a universal fear, not just of our own end, but of the End of the World.

Yet, in somewhat different forms both these fears are as old as the human race. The difference is that today these fears are as much about the things that come before the end: fire, drought, famine, nuclear radiation, disease, or machines of our making. In previous generation the fear was focussed on what happens after the end: Judgement, Heaven and Hell.

We need to go back to what the Christian Gospel is all about: salvation from all these catastrophes and a hope for the future, whatever happens.

There is certainly in the Christian view of the world the knowledge that one day the world will come to an end, and an awful end at that. Whether any of today’s fears will be the cause of that end, waits to be seen. But Jesus tells us that “the day of the Lord is coming when the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” (Matthew 14.29). Whether we ourselves die before that day or are still alive when it comes, we shall all appear before the judgement seat of God to be judged according to the sort of lives we have led and the things in which we have put our trust.

All these human fears are nothing new, they are precisely the things from which Jesus came to offer us salvation. He rescues us from our sin. We have all done things that we know were wrong. We cannot undo them, nor can we make atonement ourselves for all the harm that we have done. Jesus came to do just that. He died on the Cross to make atonement for our sins; his blood was the price of our forgiveness. He also rose from the dead in order to open to us the gate of everlasting life. And when this old, suffering world, so full of wickedness of all sorts, does finally come to an end, by whatever means, those who have put their faith in the Lord Jesus will inherit a New World: new heavens and a new earth. There is so much that we cannot know about this new world until the time comes, but we can be sure it will be infinitely more glorious than this one, and, above all, if will never end. Put your trust in Jesus and fear not.


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