A week is a long time in politics
“A week is a long time in politics” – this was a throwaway line by Harold Wilson when Prime Minister a generation ago – but is still very true. Who would have thought a week ago that Brexit would be displaced as the lead news story by a terrorist attack in Westminster, killing and seriously injuring people of many different nations?
Who would have thought a week ago that President Trump would fail to get his first key policy change into legislation because of a lack of support from Republicans, and then blame Democrats for opposing it (the abolition of the Democrat President Obama’s key healthcare programme)?
How do we respond as Christians to these events in the news? It is easy to get caught up in the same quick responses as those who do not know God, but what is His perspective on the news?
Let’s remember some things that have not changed since a week ago. God is unchangeable and unfazed by human events. His covenant love is established forever. His plan is still to bring together all things in Christ at the fulness of time (Eph 1:10; Col 1:20).
Psalm 46 is a very helpful psalm that enables us to keep perspective. God is our refuge. The nations might rage and kingdoms/republics might totter but the most important thing in history is that the river of God flows through the city of God – in New Testament terms, the presence of God flows through the people of God.
How does His presence flow through us? Not by quick reactions to judge murderous terrorists or seemingly illogical presidents. Not by quick reactions to fight terrorists or ban/restrain Muslims (without thinking of the consequences). But instead – “hold steady!” God is still in the midst of His people and His presence is still seen in the same old ways:
by focusing on Him and worshipping (“Be still and know that I am God.”)
by praying for the coming of the kingdom, when “He makes wars to cease…”
by choosing to continue to forgive and to live from the Spirit, a different spirit from the motivations we see so often around us
by using discernment and wisdom, but not putting ourselves in the place of God to judge other people’s actions (Matt 7:1-5).
We have seen around us a range of reactions to these events in the news. Our reaction as the people of God is above all to hold steady and pray. It might not be as dramatic or popular as some other responses, but in the long term it is the only response that will have any effect!