The worst of times. The best of times.
THE VARIOUS World Outreach International (WOI) 80th anniversary celebrations held in 2012 were truly wonderful times together! Space does not allow me to share all the highlights, except to say that again and again we heard the voice of the Lord speak, not only of things past and present, but also relating to the future.
We are now in a period that could be described as both the worst of times and the best of times. The worst of times is reflected in the endless political, economic, religious and social upheaval happening on all continents of the world today. Millions of people worldwide, who once had some level of security and confidence about the future, have in a very short time lost all hope. In our lifetime, most of us have never known such high unemployment worldwide. I could go on and on describing the doom and gloom that has enveloped millions and millions of lives, but I would rather focus on the best of times.
In periods of such chaos, there has never been a better time to share and demonstrate the Good News of Jesus Christ! I must add here that the kingdom of God is not subject to these worst of times forces. The plans and purposes of God are far and above that which is happening around us. The questions are what are we looking at, whose voice are we listening to and what words are we focusing on?
While it may seem that the forces of darkness, chaos and destruction are rampant in our world, at the same time the Holy Spirit is doing a great work. Amazing breakthroughs are happening on continents of the world where followers of Jesus Christ have traditionally been a small minority.
In a heavily populated nation near Singapore, observers from the predominant religion within that nation have stated that based on the present growth rate of those becoming followers of Jesus there, Christians could be the largest ‘religious’ group in the next 20 years. Similar encouraging testimonies are heard from those serving in North Africa, the Indian subcontinent and China! These are man’s observations!
We are living in times where the Lord’s plans for doing something breath-taking, new and suddenly is happening – where the light of His Kingdom gains ascendancy over the forces of darkness and the Body of Christ has a supernatural, magnetic attraction world-wide.
During such a season, multitudes from the world’s ethnic nations, who have yet to hear the Gospel for the first time, will stream into the kingdom of God and be transformed into His likeness. We are surely living in the best of times from a kingdom of God perspective!
I love the words of Isaiah 48:3: I foretold the former things long ago, my mouth announced them and I made them known, then suddenly I acted and they came to pass.”
Can I encourage you to be alert and discern the times and seasons we are living in, to be mindful of what the word of God declares about what the Lord has promised prior to His return, and to be alert, for the things He once spoke will SUDDENLY come about. All praise to His name!
May God bless you,
John is the Present Emeritus of World Outreach. He lives with his wife, Mary, in New Zealand.