< We must be in a general election campaign. Of course, by the time you read this, Boris’ insult will be old news, and he will probably have been busy with far more news-worthy exploits than pouring scorn on the Labour leader. And more importantly, when you read this, there will probably only be a few days left – if any – before polling day, and we will be in the grip of white-hot election fever.
Some of you will have read my last sentence with a snort of derision – not everyone gets as excited about elections as your Vicar! But quite apart from how exciting or boring elections are – are they important? There are those who will be quick to point out that Jesus never made any reference to the political figures of His day. Others, however, will argue that an overview of the Bible shows beyond doubt that God is interested in the whole of our lives, not just the ‘spiritual bit’, and that since there is practically no area of our lives unaffected by politics in some way, the issue of who is elected to political office is important.
Of course, you don’t have to read the Bible to come to the conclusion that elections are important –
history teaches us that lesson eloquently and graphically with numerous examples of the abuse of political power. Hitler and Stalin are obvious examples, and there are many, many others. No matter how inconsequential we might feel our vote is, it really isn’t. Every vote counts, and it is vital that we get out to the polling station to use it.
Some will delve a bit deeper and ask where God is on polling day; is He busy pulling strings behind the scenes to ensure the ‘right’ party comes to power? Or does He just leave us all to get on with it? I believe the answer is neither of these options, but rather somewhere between the two. God certainly isn’t pulling strings behind the scenes – that’s not how He operates. But neither does He leave us to our own devices. The Bible is clear that God has always allowed humankind the freedom to choose our own destiny in every area of life. But what if we make wrong choices? The first thing to say is that God feels the pain of those wrong choices. The depth and intensity of His love for this world is more than we will ever comprehend, and He feels the pain of lives that are wrecked by foolish decisions.
But still He loves us too much to take away from us the dignity of making our own choices and living with the consequences. We will always have the freedom to choose the direction our lives take. But this is where the message of the Bible is so important: the love of God for humankind is such that He is always just one simple prayer away from demonstrating His love to us in tangible ways. The Bible shows us that in all kinds of ways and situations God can and does intervene in our lives – but He will always wait to be invited. He will never barge in.
The life of a person who has invited God to be at the centre of all they are and do is certainly not a life free from pain and difficulty. But it is a life secure in the peace of knowing that it is lived in the hands of the One who is absolutely loving and trustworthy.
It’s good to know that if the ‘wrong one’ gets in on June 8th!
Rupert Hankey Writes about