On January 27th, a number of national and international events took place as part of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. It was on that day in 1945 that over 7,000 prisoners were liberated from the Auschwitz concentration camp in southern Poland.
The Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills, Michigan states that its mission is “to remember those who perished and survived the Holocaust and, in a world increasingly faced with sectarian strife and intolerance, to set forth the lessons of the Holocaust as a model for teaching ethical conduct and responsible decision making. By highlighting those individuals who, in the midst of evil, stood for the best rather than the worst of human nature, the Holocaust Memorial Center seeks to contribute to maintaining an open, free society.”
One doesn’t have to dig too deeply into the current events of this world to conclude that we are still surrounded by “sectarian strife and intolerance.” There is certainly more than enough suffering and violence to go around, with no evident end or effective solution. Can we truly experience joy now and will there ever be a time of real joy and peace on the earth?
Jesus Christ experienced one of the most horrific forms of torture and death ever devised, in the form of crucifixion. However, He was able to endure it because He had a clear vision of a future time of peace on the earth—the Kingdom of God: “…Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
Are we able to have such a clear vision of a joyful future that we can endure tremendous strife and affliction today? It is only through the knowledge and belief in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that we can begin to experience this joy. The Apostle Peter was inspired to write, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:3, 6–9).
There is a time coming very soon when dreadful and horrifying evil acts will cease. Joy will replace death, sorrow, fear, and pain. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).
We need the return of Jesus Christ to finally set this world right. He promises that we will have joy at His return. “Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you” (John 16:22).
For more information on the joy that is coming and how we can experience it today by catching the vision of the Kingdom of God, you might find two helpful booklets: The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like? and John 3:16: Hidden Truths of the Golden Verse.