God gives us strength in uncertain times 

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By Ven Gavin Collins, Archdeacon of the Meon   

I don’t think we have ever, during my lifetime, faced the prospect of a new year in our country with as much sense of uncertainty, fearfulness and disagreement as we do at this start to 2019. 

The arguments of Brexit seem to stand over everything else, with paralysis and division at Westminster spilling out into nervousness in communities and families, as we look ahead with uncertainty as to what Brexit will really entail when it arrives in less than three months.

Often at new year, I find myself reflecting on a very well-known poem, written by Minnie Louise Haskins, and its words seem especially relevant this year:

‘I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year,

‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.

‘And he replied, “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God.

“That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way”.’

This poem first caught the public attention and the popular imagination when King George VI quoted it in his 1939 Christmas broadcast, in the dark early months of the Second World War.

It is known as The Gate of the Year, but I was intrigued to discover that the title given to it by the author was in fact God Knows.

I find it a helpful thought as we face the start of 2019, with all of its uncertainties, not just about Brexit, but also about everything else this new year will hold in store for you, for your family, your workplace and your community.

God Knows what the future holds for us, because God is the one who holds the future, and God promises to hold onto us, whatever that future may be.

And so, as we start 2019 together with those around us, may we know the security, the light and the guidance that God offers to us.

And may we know the security and strength of walking alongside one another, as communities come together in uncertain times, helping one another forward, and together finding a light to guide us along dark paths.

With every blessing to you at the start of this new year.