Editor’s Word: What Lies Ahead in 2018?

As we enter a new year, what can we expect? This is the time of year when predictions are made and when speculations abound.

According to some prognosticators, we will have a colder and wetter winter in South Carolina, with the possibility of snow in the Upstate and maybe even the Midlands.

It is predicted that face-to-face interactions will increase, which will be a positive move if more of us can get away from our devices and build quality relationships.

Some say mental-health house calls will increase, and that the organic movement will grow in everything from food to makeup. More people will adopt or attempt a simpler lifestyle, and ownership will decrease as more and more people prefer to use stuff rather than own it.

The importance of wellness and preventive care is projected to grow. Video will become increasingly more mobile. Both home sales and home prices are predicted to increase, and a 2 percent cost-of-living increase will be added to the checks of Social Security recipients.

Will we see more hurricanes, earthquakes and flooding in 2018? Some scientists seem to think so, and the interpreters of Nostradamus predict trouble (even destruction) in Israel, as well as more earthquakes, floods, world war, and the collapse of the global economy.

The stock market correction (the dip) that we have been expecting is predicted by some to happen in 2018. Others, of course, say the market will continue its growth in the coming year.

There are many other greater and lesser predictions out there. However, human beings’ history of predicting the future does not boast of a great track record. Predictions can entertain or even state the obvious. They can also amplify the ridiculous. Speculations, however, cannot compete with truth.

The better part of wisdom would be for all of God’s children to put more emphasis on genuine commitments rather than on seasonal resolutions.

There probably are some who are predicting the return of Jesus in 2018. These predictions have failed completely in the past, and we have good reason to believe they will not be accurate in the future. Jesus will return one day, but we cannot know the day or the hour. We are counseled in Matthew 24:44 to be ready, because “the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.”

Tomorrow, like yesterday, is a place where we cannot live. We have our memories and our plans and dreams. But today is where we do our living. James 4:14 reminds us: “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.”

The gift of life is precious, and the gift of eternal and abundant life in Jesus is incomparable. Life was meant to be lived! With the temptation to speculate about 2018 or make resolutions most of us will not keep, why don’t we instead focus our lives on Jesus Christ and His Word in the coming year? More good work will be accomplished, and our great purpose of glorifying Him will be achieved in multifaceted ways. As a result, we will become a blessing — and be blessed, ourselves.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He is the great and eternal constant in a world of inconsistencies. Have a Christ-focused New Year!