As we begin a new year, storm clouds continue to gather heavily around the world, even darkening our own doorsteps. As I write this, the conflict in Gaza is continuing, and the reverberations are felt across the globe. I was there just before Thanksgiving, and what I saw greatly moved and disturbed me. I visited several kibbutzim that Hamas terrorists had attacked on the morning of Oct. 7, killing men, women and children—even infants.
I walked through some of the homes that had been burned and scarred with hundreds of bullets. I saw craters in the floors where the terrorists had thrown hand grenades, and shrapnel pieces embedded in the walls. It seemed like every demon in hell had been let loose.
I had the privilege of meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He welcomed my prayers for God’s wisdom, guidance and peace. I also met with a young mother whose husband was murdered by Hamas, and a wife whose husband was taken hostage. They were so traumatized.
If only the thousands of Hamas sympathizers who paraded here at home and other countries could have seen what I saw, perhaps they would realize that Hamas is nothing more than evil, wicked men who are bent on killing as many Jews as they possibly can, ever seeking to eradicate the state of Israel—God’s chosen people, the only democracy in the Middle East and our closest ally. These terrorists are fueled by demonic hatred for the Jewish people.
In Ukraine, the conflict continues as the so-called summer offensive failed to take back much ground. Millions are suffering mightily as a cold, long winter takes hold and critical infrastructure is targeted. Tens of thousands have died since the war began, and much of Europe still remains wary that the war will spread outside Ukraine. That would lead to a nightmare scenario.
Here in the U.S., we are facing yet another election year as both parties ramp up their efforts. Crucial moral issues like abortion and the LGBTQ agenda are again front and center, with pro-abortion, anti-life forces working hard to counter the landmark Supreme Court ruling that struck down Roe v. Wade, leaving the issue to the states. Voters in Ohio, for example, recently “enshrined” abortion into their state constitution. Might I say it is a pagan shrine they have so enthusiastically embraced, upon which are sacrificed the innocents who are slaughtered in their mother’s womb.
Our nation meanwhile continues to lay debt upon debt, with a deficit now approaching $35 trillion. That’s just hard to believe, and it seems Congress is now regularly faced with chaotic months and weeks trying to keep the government from shutting down.
Yet despite these ever darkening and threatening clouds, I remain hopeful. Not the kind of tepid, wishy-washy hope that things might improve, but the Biblical kind of hope that is fully confident in the Lord Jesus Christ. A firm, sure, settled hope that our God is working out His plans and purposes according to His perfect will and timing. I don’t put my hope in any political party or any gathering of Congress. Only the Lord is worthy of my full hope and trust.
I have hope because our God is a sovereign God.
This means that He rules over every nation, every head of state, every known military power. There is no prime minister, president, parliament, congress, nation nor person over whom God does not reign. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes”(Proverbs 21:1). One well-known Bible teacher said, “There is not one maverick molecule in the universe over which God is not sovereign.”
“Our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases” (Psalm 115:3). “The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart to all generations” (Psalm 33:10-11). “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers … He brings the princes to nothing; He makes the judges of the earth useless” (Isaiah 40:22-23).
The Lord is not only the all-powerful God Almighty; He is a wise God. Everything He does, He accomplishes in perfect wisdom, though we may not understand it for now. His plans are expertly and perfectly crafted in divine omniscience. No military, political or financial strategy can even begin to outwit Him. No scheme of man or demons can touch His supreme wisdom. All the wisdom of the world put together is but a grain of sand compared to God’s infinite wisdom. “To God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever” (Romans 16:27). “O Lord, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all” (Psalm 104:24). “In [Christ] are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3).
The Lord is not only all-powerful and all-wise, but He is also all-loving. For His children, all that He does—even hard discipline—flows from His love for us. He saved us because of His great love (Ephesians 2:4), He sent His Son to die for our sins that we might receive eternal life because He so loved the world (John 3:16), and we can count on the fact that He works everything together for good—all the circumstances of our life—for those who love Him (Romans 8:28). One of the most oft repeated refrains in Scripture is in the 136th Psalm: “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Psalm 136:1).
Nothing, absolutely nothing—no war, no wicked rulers, no failed government, no death, no disease, no demonic power, no created thing—can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So as the New Year is upon us, I am completely confident that our powerful, wise and loving God will work all things together for the good of His children, even those things which are evil and not good. I am hopeful that as we preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, He will bring thousands to repentance and saving faith—people who will receive the marvelous, unsurpassed gift of eternal life.
In this world, in this coming year, we will all face various trials and challenges. It won’t be easy. Life never is. The world may seem like it is unraveling before our eyes. But we can have an overarching and abiding joy, since in the words of our Lord, “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). ©2023 BGEA
Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version.
Photo: Ron Nickel/©2023 Samaritan’s Purse