Would you look at all those zeroes! With my old car I’ve seen a row of zeroes a couple of times. It wasn’t too surprising the first time, but then it happened again! That was a surprise which I really didn’t expect to see.
But even though the old car keeps on running, all those zeroes do have a message. They speak volumes about wear and tear–the car is getting tired and worn. Even though it is running well, I know that it will come down to its last mile. Maybe that will be a few more miles down the road. Maybe it will keep on running until I see another row of zeroes. With my car, that is my hope.
Now we have been focused on the zeroes on the calendar. We have quite a batch of zeroes with this year two thousand. Who would have thought that this world would keep on turning this long after Christ’s return to heaven? Even the apostles were looking for the end of this world during their lifetime. They would not have guessed that the year 1000 would come before Christ’s return, and here we are at the year 2000! Already in the days of the apostles, there were those skeptics who were ready to disregard any real possibility of Jesus ever returning, or of His calling this world to its end. Surely there are many more in our day who disregard the promises of Christ and would seek to undermine the believer’s hope in Christ’s promise to return.
We see a bunch of zeroes in our calendar date. What does it mean? There is a message there for us. Let’s make sure we get the right message: “But beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:8-9).
A Marvel Of Grace
So then what we are observing in this year 2000 is a marvel of God’s grace toward this world of sinners. We continue here because of the strength of God’s desire for more sinners to hear the gospel of life and forgiveness in Christ Jesus, and to believe and be saved. While the earth remains, so does this time of grace, and so does our opportunity and privilege to bear this good news to all the world.
We see this new year, then, as a year of hope and opportunity. What a blessing God bestows on us as we live our lives for Him on this earth He created for us!
But our hope for life is not tied to this earth.
As we look at all those zeroes in the date of this new year, we are reminded that we look for the end of things. At the same time as we are brought to understand the patience of God and His gracious desire for salvation to come to the people of this world, we also realize that the counting of all those years is a tally of the use and abuse, the wear and tear that this world has endured.
Many of this world worry about the earth failing. Yet God promises that the earth will provide for our needs as long as our gracious God wills this world to continue: “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease” (Gen. 8:22).
And when this earth no longer remains, then what? Then we shall be received to a greater glory, to a far better place. This is our hope for life in year 2000 and into eternity!
–Pastor Theodore Barthels