As the year 2000 approaches, there is nervous anticipation and global fear about the computer problem known as the Millennium Bug or the “Year 2000 (Y2K) problem.” Many Christians are deeply concerned about what it all means. Will their investments evaporate? Will food and other essentials be in short supply? Will turmoil create an unsafe society?
The Y2K problem exists because older computers use only two digits to denote the year. Hence the year 1999 is represented as 99. When the year 2000 arrives these older computers will register the year as 00. When this happens, the computer may either record the year as 1900, or fail altogether. While feverish efforts are underway to correct or replace deficient computer systems, some fear there is too little time remaining in 1999 to eliminate the problem. If this is true, many of the world’s vital computer systems will not be ready for the year 2000.
Many experts see the Y2K problem as just a minor glitch in the wonderful world of computers. Others view the problem as serious, having catastrophic consequences. Those who take the extreme view predict that the Y2K problem will create a serious breakdown in essential services such as electrical power, communications, transportation, banking and food distribution. Some further predict that this breakdown will trigger economic and political chaos resulting in the disintegration of society as we know it.
Those who fear the worst have hit the panic button and are making plans to protect themselves. Fear has prompted many to put into action a plan of running, hiding, stockpiling and protecting. Some are selling their homes in the cities, converting their assets into gold and moving to remote regions of the country. All of this is done in an effort to isolate themselves from this perceived catastrophe. The cry of the gloom and doom prophets and their fearful followers is Gold, Guns and Groceries. Sadly, many of the prophets and their followers are professing Christians.
While this kind of protectionism can be expected from non-Christians who live without faith in God, it should not be true of the child of God who walks with a confidence with God and obedience to His Word. No one knows for certain to what degree the Y2K computer problem will disrupt our lives, but we can be certain as to how we should react to the gloom and doom message that is spreading like an epidemic.
The believer whose faith is anchored in Jesus Christ should not succumb to fear. “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him” (Heb 10:35-38).
The believer who trusts in God will not run when the forecast is threatening. Jesus said: “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it” (Luke 17:33).
Recently, a believer who is a friend of mine expressed to me the fear she and her husband share concerning the Y2K problem. They are considering selling their home and joining other Christians that have already relocated to a remote part of the country. Here, they would stockpile food and other resources in preparation for the new millennium. If the year 2000 were to bring no catastrophe, they would be prepared to come back and resume their lives. The following day, I wrote a letter to this family outlining six scriptural reasons why they should not run in an attempt at self-preservation:
1. To run would deny God’s power to provide.
“Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not better then they?” (Matt 6:25-26.)
2. To run would be selfish.
“Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (Phil 2:4).
3. To run would terminate your witness to the unsaved you leave behind.
“But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist” (2 Tim 4:5).
4. To run would be to abandon the local church where God has placed you.
“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more as ye see the day approaching” (Heb 10:25).
5. To run would be to abandon the weak and needy you leave behind.
“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Rom 15:1).
6. To run would be to cave in to fear.
“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind” (2 Tim 1:7).
Let those of us who know the Lord place all of our confidence in Him and His unfailing promises. Let us instruct and encourage the fearful. Let us demonstrate faith before the unsaved. Let us be busy in the gospel that has been committed to our trust. Let us live in unwavering expectation: “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Tit 2:13).
As the year 2000 approaches with all of its uncertainties, we have no reason to fall victims to fear. While the cry of GOLD, GUNS and GROCERIES echoes all around us, let us take up the words of the apostle Paul: “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20: 24).