The 73rd Psalm begins with the statement, “Truly, God is good to Israel, to such that are pure in heart” (NKJV). As we reflect on the year 2016 and how God has led us through turmoil, distress, and fears, through hills and valleys, hopes and hopelessness, we can truly say that God has been good to us.
The year 2016 started out as any other year, and we all anticipated the very best for the future, but we seem to have gone about our activities with a business as usual attitude. Within our church, we can still see an atmosphere of unpreparedness for the return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We are strongly divided on the issue of the role of women in advancing the mission of the church. There is reluctance to fully engage our youth and young adults in church growth and development.
On the national scene we have just witnessed one of the worst election campaigns, where mud-slinging and degrading expressions were the order of the day. There are many who are still nursing their wounds, while others are wondering if this is a precursor to the end of time. There are some who are fearful that our religious liberties will be compromised in light of the new administration, which will commence responsibilities on January 20, 2017.
The Atlantic Union Conference made significant changes at its 30th constituency meeting on June 19, 2016, selecting three new administrative officers, and new departmental directors. All this and more lends itself to an uncertain future, but, if we face challenges, “with Christ in the vessel, we can smile at the storm.” Let us pause to thank Donald G. King, Carlyle Simmons, Leon Thomassian, and the former departmental directors and staff for their faithful service to the Atlantic Union Conference.
The Christmas holiday season was a time to reflect on God’s goodness and also to express gratitude to Him for sending His beloved Son to this earth to serve as an example for each of us. It was also a time to celebrate family and to let our loved ones know, even more, how much we appreciate them while we also extended a helping hand to the less fortunate around us.
As we forge ahead into 2017, let us do so with full awareness that God will guide us, if we submit ourselves to Him. He knows the future and He is ready and willing to direct us in fulfilling His mission. There is much for us to accomplish in the Atlantic Union as we strive to impact the world in preparation for the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Let us therefore not lose hope, let us not be fearful, because the same God who has brought us thus far will lead us boldly into the future. “We have nothing to fear for the future, except as we shall forget the way the Lord has led us, and His teachings in our past history”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 10.
G. Earl Knight is president of the Atlantic Union Conference and chairman of the Atlantic Union College Board of Trustees.