The Bible brings us hope for better times in the year ahead - Michael Veitch

The turning of an old year, and beginning of the new, is typically a moment of looking forward in the hope that better days lie ahead. As we move into the third calendar year of this wretched pandemic, with all its’ accompanying disruption, and seemingly endless false dawns, we are surely all hoping, perhaps more than ever before, that the year ahead will indeed be a better one.

Michael Veitch, Parliamentary Officer, CARE for Scotland
Michael Veitch, Parliamentary Officer, CARE for Scotland

If nothing else, Covid has served to remind us of what was already the case, namely that it is folly to ever assume that we know what the future holds with any degree of certainty.

Yet though the future is unknown to us, it is wholly known to God and so King David could assert with absolute confidence: “my times are in thy hand” (Psalm 31:15).

God, as he reveals himself in the Bible and creation, is a God of both infinite power and infinite love, which is why both security and peace are to be found in relationship with him.

The Bible nowhere promises an absence of suffering for his people (quite the contrary in fact), but it does assure them of God’s presence amid difficulty.

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As another Psalm puts it: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea” (Psalm 46:1-2).

In other words, even the very worst of calamities cannot displace us from the comforting and secure hands of our maker.

The Bible is also clear that these wonderful promises are secured by placing our trust in the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, for it is by faith in his substitutionary death upon the Cross that anyone can be reconciled to God.

In the story of the wise and foolish builders that concludes the famous ‘Sermon on the Mount’ in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus makes clear that the man who built his house on the rock stands for the person who takes heed of his words, and so withstands the storm.

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Conversely, the man who built his house on the sand is the one who rejects the words of Jesus.

While there may seem to be a lack of light at the end of the tunnel at this moment, with so much that is unsettling and uncertain, we can take heart from the fact that the Bible makes clear that things will not stay this way forever.

It points us to the day when Jesus will return to earth for a second and final time, to destroy evil and to gather his followers to himself.

The promise, to those who believe, is that: “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Revelation 21:4).

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As 2022 lies before us, as an unknown quantity to us (but not to God) it is comforting the know that in Jesus we may have this absolute hope upon which to rest our heads.

As Horatius Bonar, the nineteenth century Scottish hymn writer, and long-time Minister in Kelso, once put it:

A few more storms shall beat

On this wild, rocky shore;

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And we shall be where tempests cease

And surges swell no more:

Then, O my Lord, prepare

My soul for that calm day;

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Oh, wash me in Thy precious blood,

And take my sins away!

Michael Veitch, Parliamentary Officer, CARE for Scotland. Visit care.org.uk.

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