In the past twelve months the world has witnessed warring nations, natural disasters, a worldwide economic meltdown, continuing terrorist strikes, slashed jobs, and a mortgage crisis—to name a few. All these difficulties remind me of the simile Paul used when he described the state of the world to first-century Christians in Rome: “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time” (Rom. 8:22). Yes, the whole earth writhes and cries out in anguish.
God calls us to explain to those around us why we don’t just curl into the fetal position and give up: “In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Pet. 3:15–16).
In this issue of Kindred Spirit, we focus on challenges in our world that can actually serve to open up opportunities to share the Gospel. The year 2009 marks what would have been Charles Darwin’s two-hundredth birthday, as well as one hundred and fifty years since the publication of his Origin of Species. Therefore the topic of origins will no doubt remain on the public stage. Followers of Christ can use this occasion to engage the culture about Creation—and especially the Creator.
In these pages you’ll also read about Dallas Seminary board member Luis Palau, whose efforts to link good works with courageous gospel preaching are bringing hope in places where a great number of people are homeless and where relatively few attend church.
You’ll also meet a number of individuals who have suffered or are facing great difficulty whom God is using so effectively.
What do you believe about your present circumstances? Do you believe your future is bright because of Christ? Then with gentleness and respect, say so! What difficulties are you facing? How can you turn them into opportunities to talk about your faith?
We can read how the story ends. The One on a white horse with a sword in His mouth returns and reigns over warring peoples, earthquakes, and economies. He will save His own to the uttermost! When one reads how a story ends, the drama in the middle becomes less scary. So go ahead and spoil the suspense—tell everybody you know how it all turns out in the end. Creation groans now, but Jesus is coming soon.
—Dr. Mark L. Bailey