“Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places.” [Matt 24:7]
“……..for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations.” [Ps 22:28]
“I urge then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives..” [1 Tim 2:1, emphasis added]
In the past couple of weeks two significant, unexpected events have reminded us that nothing stays the same forever – that unseen forces are at work which suddenly, without notice, can alter both the present situation and the future – of nations and of individuals.
The first of these was the massive and tragic earthquake affecting a large part of southern Turkey and northern Syria, resulting in thousands of deaths, over a million made homeless and huge swathes of physical destruction. In the immediate aftermath we heard in great detail about the tectonic plates below the earth’s surface which move inexorably against one another, creating huge pressure that suddenly erupts with a massive force that shakes and brings down much on the surface.
The tremendous response in terms of help in the rescue efforts and the ongoing recovery from around the world testifies that, despite all that is wrong with the world, there is still a huge reservoir of kindness and compassion which responds to a tragedy such as this. The amazing response to the DEC UK appeal of over £50 million in a few days is but one example.
So often the media focus switches all too quickly to the next ‘disaster’, while years of recovery and reconstruction remain to be tackled. So we continue to pray that Father God will release all the resources required – manpower, materials, finance – to enable these devastated communities, and so many others from earlier disasters elsewhere, to recover. We pray for communities, industry, commerce, education, health services and so much more, to be re-built, for orphans to find new homes, for shattered lives to be rebuilt. Crucially, we pray that the Church of Jesus Christ in these areas, and development agencies such as Tearfund, will be shining beacons of light and hope in many practical ways, and through the love and compassion they share, many thousands will be drawn to Jesus, the ‘giver of life’.
The second event, again another unexpected ‘suddenly’ for almost everyone, was the announcement by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that she was resigning. There had been some recent hints that this was coming, and oblique references to ‘life after politics’, but until Nicola started to tell close friends and family, no-one expected it to happen right now.
We are now in the early stages of the campaign to elect a new leader of the SNP, and First Minister of Scotland, with three candidates so far having entered the race. Events are moving fast, and whatever one writes one day may quickly be out of date the next. However one thing is very clear – this is a very significant moment of change in Scottish, and indeed UK, politics – a change that could possibly even be described as a shift in the ‘tectonic plates’ that have underpinned Scottish politics since Alex Salmond became SNP leader and Nicola Sturgeon his depute.
Whatever our personal politics, whatever we think of the SNP and Scottish nationalism, as Christians we must surely all be very disturbed by an early feature in this campaign – the way Kate Forbes, Finance Secretary, has been treated by large parts of the media and society, including from within her own party. This is, or should be, a ‘wake up call’ to the Church in Scotland. This is what faces any Christian who exercises their right, their freedom to express their sincerely held personal beliefs in the public domain, where such beliefs go against the ‘tide’ of secular humanism which now predominates in Scottish society. So we need to pray earnestly for God’s covering and protection for Kate and her family, and that she will hear clearly from God as to what she should do in the days to come.
As one commentator has said: “We have a Hindu as Prime Minister, a Muslim as Lord Mayor of London, so why can’t we have a Christian as First Minister of Scotland?”
We also need to engage even more in serious prayer and intercession for our nation and its leaders. Our quote above from Psalms reminds us that Father God is in total control of the fate and destiny of nations and their rulers. We must never forget in all the mayhem that the covenant-keeping Yahweh is on His throne, eternal, unchanging, faithful to every single one of His promises. His plans and purposes for His creation, for Scotland, for the SNP, for Kate Forbes, for every single one of us, and for His Church, will in the end prevail, despite everything the enemy tries to do to oppose Him. Our responsibility, our calling, is to pray!
Source: Pray for Scotland