Another Brexit?

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It was indeed another Brexit moment: Donald Trump winning the race to become the 45th President of the United States of America. It was a result that very few thought would really happen; greeted by some with joy and by others with dismay. The latter included: Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and J. K. Rowling, who all tweeted their sadness at the result of yesterday’s vote. “Gonna cry my false eye lashes off tonight.” was Katy Perry’s first response. Other reactions recorded in the media included:

“He’s a threat to the present and future immigrants of the country.”

“Pretty scared right now, I won’t lie,”

“This can’t be real.”

Just as some in Britain are refusing to accept the outcome of the democratic vote for Brexit, there are those in the USA, who are already protesting on the streets after losing the election.

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Madeline Lopes and Cassidy Irwin march with other protestors in Oakland. (Picture: Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group via AP)

Looking back over the campaign, Donald Trump said some terrible things about Latinos,  immigrants, African Americans, women and the disabled. Yet his victory speech showed a calmer, more conciliatory, some even suggested a more presidential, side. In her losing speech, Hillary Clinton said that America “owes Donald Trump an open mind and a chance to lead.” Even President Obama said this morning, “We all go forward with a presumption of good faith in our fellow citizens.”

It’s true that if Donald Trump follows through on some of his more extreme election promises, life will become much harder for some, particularly for minorities, but surely it behoves us all to give Donald Trump a chance to start again. Wouldn’t we want that for our self? And who knows, the reality of political life may bring a swift end to some of his wilder ideas?

Turning from politics for a moment, it seems to me that some people’s deep-seated fears and horror over Donald Trump’s victory do show a concern for minorities, but also a sense of helplessness, in that our lives are subject to the ebb and flow of political changes and world events, and in our human frailty we have no defence. However, we are not without hope in this world. There is one greater than the presidents and politicians; one who knows and cares for us individually. Psalm 46 reminds us that when the unexpected happens:

“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, … The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. … He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.’”  (Psalm 46)

Because He is there, working unseen on our behalf, we can live and let live. We can accept the decision of our fellow citizens, and continue working to make this a world fit for all.

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The value of a life

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The London 2012 Paralympic Games are now well and truly under way. For another nine days we can marvel at the skills and feats of endurance performed by a whole host of disabled athletes from around the world. The Paralympics are an example to us all of how barriers can be overcome and just how much can be achieved through determination, effort and hard work.

That determination was mirrored to me recently by a friend who was expecting her first child. During her pregnancy, tests showed that sadly all was not right. Her baby had a serious heart problem as well as other complications. The doctors suggested she should have her child aborted, but she and her husband were determined to give him the right to live, and refused to give in. Being a believer in Jesus, she knew that God had power to heal her child, but if He chose not to she also knew that He would give them the strength to cope. Many people were praying for them. It’s a few weeks now since she gave birth to her son. There was no trace of the serious heart problem, and after a day or two in the intensive care unit he was home and feeding properly, but will still need certain medical care. Who knows, because of his mother’s determination, he may become an athlete himself one day.

Disabled athletes have many ‘hurdles’ to overcome, but they keep going. Their endurance is an example to us all. Life isn’t easy for any of us, but through prayer and perseverance we too can make progress in our journey through life. Instead of giving up, we can look to our Creator. In the Bible, the apostle Paul wrote that “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength,” (Philippians 4:13). God is interested in each one of His children, and as we draw close to Him, we can be sure that He is there to strengthen and support us. As God once said through the prophet Isaiah: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Thank God

Tweet: Usain Bolt thanks God
Usain Bolt thanks God

I was late and I was lost! On my way to a meeting in a strange town I had taken a wrong turning and eventually had to ask a bus driver the way. It’s often said that men are too proud to ask for directions, and would rather drive round in circles than admit that they’re lost. Surely a man would look more sensible if he stopped to ask someone who knows the area, but that’s another matter!

It takes an intelligent man to recognise that he needs help. It takes a big man to admit that he can’t make it alone. It takes a selfless man to thank another for making him great. It takes honesty to admit that we, as fallible human beings, need help from our Creator. And if Usain Bolt can do it when the eyes of the world are upon him, we can too!

As it is written in the Book of Psalms: “gather us from the nations, that we may give thanks to your holy name.” (Psalm 106:47)