As I write, more than a fortnight before the fourth general election in ten years, it is even harder to say anything about 2020 than it will be at the time you are reading this – and predictions will still be foolhardy on or around New Year’s Day. Fortunately, we are not in the business of predicting the future: instead, we are privileged to be able to rely on the promises of God.
Of course, promises don’t always ring true, especially around election time or around New Year’s resolution time. But God’s promises are not to be compared with politicians’ promises to us, or with our promises to ourselves – however sincere those human promises or commitments may be. God’s Word cannot be broken. He is not surprised by events. He does not forget. He is not thwarted. God can be trusted.
That ought to be in big shining lights: GOD CAN BE TRUSTED. Ultimately that is the source of our hope. Human words and actions can undoubtedly make the future better or worse; but neither good actions by politicians, nor good attempts at Kingdom-building by churches or individual Christians, can permanently solve mankind’s problems or guarantee a trouble-free future. God’s promises can, though.
As we enter 2020, do pray for our government, whatever its hue and make-up. Do honour and support those charged with leading our country, whoever they are. Do seek to make your community, and this world, a better place through your actions. Do encourage and support your parish in making a real difference to the lives, and life-chances, of people locally and far away.
Above all this, do think on the promises of God. (If you can’t list half a dozen, ask your clergy – maybe suggest a sermon series on them.) Rejoice in the good things he has in store for us. Trust him, for he is faithful, and can be trusted.
With best wishes
Bishop of Peterborough