"Waiting on the World to Change"

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These poignant lyrics from John Mayer’s song “Waiting on the World to Change,” from his CD Continuum, make a statement about what many of his generation have—a desire to make a difference in a world that needs help. War, terrorism, corruption, disease, pollution and moral decadence abound. It’s no secret that we live in a world that has problems— big problems.

As in the song, many know that this world needs to be changed. Yet the whole idea of changing or repairing the world seems like a fantasy—something that could only happen in a dream or be wished for in a song! Surely it’s not something that could be accomplished by any man or government today.

In the Bible, our Creator revealed that this world would, in time, fall into deep trouble—trouble so bad it could bring life as we know it to an end! (Matthew 24:21-22 Matthew 24:21-22 21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
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). Yet that same Creator said that He really does have a plan to set this troubled world right. This plan will involve millions of people learning a different way of life—a way of life based on peace and the law of God.

The prophet Micah wrote of this plan: “Many nations shall come and say, ‘Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord , to the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, and we shall walk in His paths.’

“For out of Zion the law shall go forth, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and rebuke strong nations afar off; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore” (Micah 4:2-3 Micah 4:2-3 2 And many nations shall come, and say, Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for the law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 3 And he shall judge among many people, and rebuke strong nations afar off; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up a sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
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Fixing a broken world is not an easy task. And God is not planning to do it alone! He tells us He is preparing people to assist Him in transforming this world into a better one (Revelation 5:10 Revelation 5:10And have made us to our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
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; Daniel 12:3 Daniel 12:3And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
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). To a great degree, this is what the Christian life is all about—being prepared by God to assist Him and His Son in ushering in a new world with a new government that will bring about the true happiness and peace that has eluded mankind for thousands of years!

This past August, seven young adults from the United States served as United Youth Corps volunteers at United Youth Camps in Ghana and Nigeria. These nations are located on the continent of Africa—a part of the world that is rich in colorful tradition and natural resources, yet also a region that continues to suffer from poverty, disease and government corruption.

After they visited West Africa and worked with the youth at the camps, I asked the volunteers about the impact this experience had on their view of life, their view of the needs of others and whether or not this experience helped them see the need for change in our world.

In addition to expressing their appreciation for the wonderful, talented and generous young people they got to know at the camps, they also shared insights from their travel experiences.

Taking abundance for granted

Those who travel the world know that the wealth Americans and other Westerners enjoy is the exception among nations and not the rule! The other 5 billion people live in a different world. In fact, hundreds of millions of people on this planet live every day without electricity, indoor plumbing or adequate food—let alone refrigeration.

Kirstin Korthuis said: “I have caught myself whenever I have wanted to complain about physical comfort since I’ve been back from Africa. This includes water not hot enough, temperature too hot, no air conditioning, not enough living space, not enough clothes, etc.”

In addition to the material things we enjoy, something else is greatly needed in the world—education.

Laura Beth Childers wrote: “It is easy to take this Western life for granted when it is all you have known. I always thought that the differences between the Western world and the third world were related only to possessions and technology.

“This trip made me realize that there is more to it than that. Not only do I appreciate the blessings of possessions and technology, but I appreciate my education more. I am not only talking about my high school and college education, but basics that I was taught growing up, such as hygiene and health.”

While many in developing nations may be lacking in basic education, many in the West are sorely in need of reeducation about God, creation, morality and right relationships. Only when you gain the perspective that getting to know people from other nations and cultures brings can you truly understand the desperate need for education and reeducation in a new world.

Of course, travel provides the traveler with the chance to appreciate the blessings he or she has.

Zach Smith wrote: “What amazed me most is that with all of the blessings we have, we are not even a fraction as appreciative as we should be. It seemed to me that even though the Ghanaian people had just enough to get by and survive, they were happy and content—far more so than people in the West, who seem to have it all.”

It is a sad reality that many people in the Western, developed countries just don’t appreciate the level of abundance and blessings they have! Being blinded by wealth is one of the great curses that can affect both those in this world and those in the Church (see 1 Timothy 6:10 1 Timothy 6:10For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
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). It can prevent us from seeing the need for drastic change in a world gone wrong.

Seeing the need for God’s Kingdom

During His earthly ministry, Jesus taught His disciples to pray, “Your kingdom come” (Matthew 6:10 Matthew 6:10Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
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). Jesus was teaching that His servants should desire His promised Kingdom and the new world it will bring.

However, seeing the need for that Kingdom must often come first before one can have the desire. Unless we understand the real mess this world is in, it is unlikely that we will truly desire the new world of which Jesus Christ and the prophets of God spoke (Acts 3:18-21 Acts 3:18-21 18 But those things, which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he has so fulfilled. 19 Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached to you: 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
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We also have to remember that it is not only in the poorer, developing nations of the world that humanity is reaping the horrible results of sin. The consequences of breaking the laws of God abound in the United States and other Western countries too. Sadly, the fruits of disobedience in these more prosperous countries are often masked or overlooked by the wealth and abundance that people continue to pursue and enjoy.

Commenting about the need for big changes in this world, Kirstin said: “I am more cynical about this world than I was before I traveled to Ghana, and I am still dealing with that outlook. But I can definitely say that I understand better why God will wipe this world clean when Christ returns.

“There was so much trash and pollution (including in the air and water) in West Africa, and I know this represents much of the developing world. There simply isn’t the money, the knowledge or perhaps the heart to care, to clean it all up. Yet Jesus Christ said He will. And we will be there to help Him. Even places that early on had much natural beauty have been polluted and filled with disease and scarring.”

As Kirstin’s comments make clear, nothing takes the place of seeing the rest of the world firsthand—particularly the developing world, where most of the population on this planet lives! And while much of the scarring and filth in Western countries is cloaked by their relative wealth and prosperity, they are no less in need of this new world!

Commenting on how hard it would be to correct the many problems that exist in Nigeria, Greg Peoples, who served at the camp there, said: “A new world is necessary to repair not only the physical damage of this country, but also the hearts and minds of the Nigerian people. I saw in person what Nigerians live with every day in Lagos: a lack of clean water, open sewers, a filthy environment, a lack of personal security and air pollution. A new world is the only answer I see that would be able to fix such conditions.

“It has opened my eyes to the daily struggle millions of native Nigerians have in order to survive. I saw a mother with twin babies trying to survive by begging from car to car in order to supply their daily needs, and this seemed to be the norm!”

Mark Mirigian added: “Also, much of the country is run on bribery and corruption, and it won’t be straightened out by ordinary means. Anything short of Christ’s return will be unsuccessful at rebuilding a country that has such fundamental issues.”

These young adults had a glimpse into the other side of the world—the world that is the real world for most of humanity. Few in the more affluent countries see or even understand this world. Yet the affluent nations are filled with secularism and moral decay that is arguably worse than all the developing world’s problems. So there is a need for a drastic overhaul of all nations.

Back to the song

We began with a snippet from a popular song, “Waiting on the World to Change.” God’s Word, through the writings of His prophets, reveals that the world, indeed, will change! It promises a time of restitution and a fresh start.

The apostle Peter told of the time in the future when a change in the heart of man will usher in a time of renewal and refreshment for this embattled earth:

“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:19-21 Acts 3:19-21 19 Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached to you: 21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
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One of the great quests throughout history has been man’s search for meaning in life. Yet after thousands of years of searching, man’s search has come to include a more sobering goal. In addition to searching for the meaning of life, humanity now also finds itself in a desperate struggle to find a way out of the mess it has made of life on earth.

John Mayer ends his song with these words:

“… One day our generation is gonna rule the population So we keep waiting, waiting on the world to change …”

It’s an interesting phrase: “One day our generation is gonna rule the population.” As these song lyrics show, John Mayer and many of today’s generation realize they will be ruling in the future. But little do they know just how true these words really are. Today’s young people will likely be the ones that assist Jesus Christ in building a changed world—a new world of tomorrow that will begin when the Kingdom of God comes to earth.

Waiting on the world to change is something you and I can be directly involved in. God has invited us to be a part of the only effort that will bring real change—permanent change to a world in need. In the next few years of your life your waiting can be filled with purpose and focus as you yield to God and become part of His chosen people. Prepare now to assist the Messiah in bringing welcome change to this world! VT

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