2012...Is it the year of hope or Apocalypse Now?
I grew up in the church. My mother was a Preacher's Kid, my grandfather and two of my uncles were all ministers. Church is a way of life in our family, needless to say.
Growing up in the church means not only learning the Word of God and how to lead a spiritual life, but it also means preparing for the Final Judgment and the afterlife. Everyone wants to go to Heaven in the end and that is the ultimate goal.
But growing up in the church also means that oftentimes there was speculation about the actual day and year when our world would end. Ministers spewed fire and brimstone warning that we were in the last days and that the chosen few would be taken to Heaven after the Final Judgment.
Some Christians believe that a chosen group would escape the misery and overall lawlessness of the end of times and be caught up in the Rapture. (There is much debate about the Rapture and whether or not it means that the chosen will be taken before the Last Days or after the Final Judgment, but I won't get into Christian theology right now.)
While I certainly believe in God and the Last Days and our impending Final Judgment, I can't say for certain that this is the beginning of the end. I can tell you that there are days when it certainly feels like it. Between the financial collapse of many nations around the world; the rise of political movements and protests in our society and others around the world; the overthrow of certain political entities; the overall lawlessness found in our society and throughout the world; the sheer desperation of our people and the dwindling morality seen in all corners of society; the violence in our communities: in schools, in homes among family members and between our young people----all of it can be overwhelming and sometimes makes one feel like a fulfillment of the prophecy.
Some days I hesitate to watch or even read the news, the stories are so alarming and disturbing. Even worse are the special reports on history and news channels which talk about the rise in human trafficking and new age slavery that has spread around the world in the last 10 to 20 years like some heart wrenching plague.
It is disturbing. It is heart breaking. And it is overwhelming.
There are so many things wrong with the world that it definitely feels like we are living in the final days. And as much as we have heard about the year 2012 being the year, both in and out of church, it really does not have to be. Because the truth is, being in the Last Days does not mean we are in our Final Year.
No one knows the day nor the hour, the Scripture says.
And I hold that to be true. All we can do is pray, meditate, do our part in the world to make it a better place. Speaking fire and brimstone is necessary but teaching people how to live and love and forgive one another is also necessary too. In the end we all want to live our best life while we are here on Earth. (And of course that definition of our best life will vary depending on the person.)
Here is to 2012! Let's make it a better year for all of us.