Challenge and Change
A BUS Editorial
“See, I have set you this day over nations and over kingdoms,
to pluck up and to break down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant” (Jeremiah 1:10)
A cycle is the way of so many events in our world. Kings and Queens are crowned and succeeded. Presidents and Prime Ministers are elected and replaced. Government Cabinets are appointed and shuffled. National economies grow and contract. International Treaties are negotiated and broken. Even empires and nations rise and fall. ’Twas ever thus.
And yet over the last few months, we have experienced so much more turnover of this kind than we have been used to in modern times. It is not only directing our conversations, but now also affecting both our immediate lives and our long-term hopes.
Whilst this is happening on our own shores, a vicious war is also being waged between the two largest countries in Europe, and we’re far from fully recovered from the effects of a global health pandemic.
Uncertainty impacts each of us at a very deep level. So long as our relationships, our jobs, our finances, our housing and our health are relatively consistent and predictable, we may feel that we are in control. All of a sudden, however, it has become clear that not only are we no longer in control of many of these things, but it’s not even clear that anybody else is either.
But, were we ever really in control, or were we deluded into believing that a healthy diet, regular exercise, financial savings, insurance, and a pension could insulate us within our western democracy from difficulties and hard times? We may have become accustomed to thinking that religious persecution will affect few of us, but does our Bible tell us that we are exempt from suffering, disaster, disease, oppression or injustice?
Is God in control? Is he protecting our national borders? Is he intervening in our financial markets? Is he directing our Prime Minister and First Minister?
And, if God is in control, should I expect to be able to see evidence of this … today, tomorrow, next year, or not necessarily in my lifetime? What would that evidence look like?
Or, should my questions instead be:
- how am I daily and faithfully praying for the small and the big things in my family, community, workplace, country and across the world; for institutions, rulers and all those in authority?
- how am I this day involving myself, alongside God, in the gradual and unstoppable inbreaking of his kingly rule, fighting against both human and spiritual evil powers?
- how am I trusting God, when wickedness or disaster looks to be getting the upper hand?
- how am I living in the confidence that one day – perhaps not in my lifetime – Jesus will undoubtedly reconcile all earthly and heavenly things to himself?