The world news is sobering and scary. The Bible tells of "a time of distress such as never occurred since there was a nation." (Daniel 12:1) Jesus called it "great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now–and never to be equaled again." (Matthew 24:21.22) This is not a comforting prospect. But along with these prophecies, the Bible is filled with promises which do give hope and comfort, not only for the close followers of Jesus, but for everyone who ever lived. We need God's promises to give us strength, and we need vision to see beyond this trouble to a time of blessing.
God is fully aware of the trouble the world is facing and says, "Do not fret because of evil men… for like the grass they will soon wither…. Trust in the LORD and do good…" (Psalm 37:1-3) God is using the trouble to prepare the world for something better. "Come and see the works of the LORD, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth." (Psalm 46:8,9) "Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad…. they will sing before the LORD…. He will judge the world in righteousness and the peoples in his truth." (Psalm 96:11-13) Another scripture describing God's judgments adds, "he will govern the peoples with justice." (Psalm 9:8) This is a comforting prospect.
Again, Psalm 97 tells how God's time of judgment begins with "clouds and thick darkness" (vss. 2ff) –a time of trouble–but this is followed by hope: "…All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth…" (Psalm 98, esp. verses 3,4,9)
Isaiah records many promises, among them, "He will swallow up death forever. The sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces…" (Isa.25:8) These promises are also for those who have already died. Jesus said that all in their graves would come forth, either to the resurrection of life or the resurrection of judgment (Greek word krisis – a decision, for or against, after they have learned God's ways).
Not only do we see God's plan for the future, but we can already see some of these promises beginning to come true! God said, " I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them… and bring them back into their own land." (Ezekiel 37:21,22) This we can see today. And soon "the law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between the nations…. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war any more." (Isaiah 2:3,4 and Micah 4:2,3)
May these promises help us to trust in God's blessed plan for the future!