Where are we headed? That is a much-asked question today. Economic security fades before our eyes. Stocks devalue in a day. Job security passes out of the picture. Wars continue to rage. We move from Iraq to Afghanistan and who knows where next?

Add these events to the normal American struggles where half of the marriages end in divorce. Lives are plagued with turmoil.

What is happening in the USA? Is there some kind of judgment coming our way from God because of moral decay? Has God had it with us for killing 50 million innocent babies and perverting biblical models for family into same-sex marriage? Has He had it with sexual promiscuity prevalent among young and older alike?

All this confusion should not shock us. God has revealed in His Word that in the end times, which surely we are in, there would be such turmoil. Isaiah the prophet spoke of a time that was to come when darkness and gross darkness would cover the face of the earth (Isaiah 60:1-2). Jesus’ disciples on one occasion asked Him, “What will be the sign of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3). He proceeded to tell them a number of things that would come our way. “You can expect wars and rumors of wars. Nations will rise against nations. Earthquakes and famines will come. False prophets will arise. Tribulation will descend upon many as lawlessness is increased. People’s love will grow cold...”

The spirit of anti-Christ is on the rise. The apostle Paul tells us that Christians are the children of the day and not of darkness (I Thessalonians 5:5). The world may not know where they are going, but God reveals to His children what He is up to and where we are headed. The world may not understand what is happening as things fall apart around us, but we have been forewarned.

Now the question. Is there any hope for peace, joy and love to prevail in such a world? I have good news for you. A resounding “Yes.” There is a Prince of Peace, one full of joy and love. His name is Jesus. He is alive and well and available to embrace us in our pressured situations.

In fact, the scriptures seem to indicate that Jesus delights in showing up to dispel our fears and hopelessness when such things captivate us. Shortly after His crucifixion, His disciples were hiding in a room for fear of the Jews (John 20:19-20). Disillusioned and fearful, hope had vanished for them. Then Jesus, the resurrected Christ, appeared in their midst. He showed them His wounds in his hands and side. They then realized He was alive, resurrected.

Look now at what happens! We are told their hearts were filled with great joy. Hopelessness and despair quickly vanished. Joy and hope always come, even in the midst of darkness and confusion, when Jesus shows up in our lives. Christ in us becomes the hope of glory.

So you are feeling despair, confusion, hopelessness? Darkness and gross darkness closing in upon you? Be encouraged! Isaiah, who foretells the coming of such darkness, also shares that at the time of such darkness, God will “rise upon you (His children) and His glory will appear upon you. (Isaiah 60:2).” Jesus is still around to bless and deliver us. He is right there with you. Reach out to Him! Invite Him into your circumstances! Invite Him into your life! Receive His warm embrace! Watch His light dispel darkness in your soul. He is still God. He is still in control.

God is in a good mood in spite of evil circumstances. In the end He wins the battle over evil and darkness. And so do those who put their trust in Him. Believe and be blessed!

The Rev. Jim Erb is a pastor and overseer of Antioch International Ministries.

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