What Now for Ireland?

“Then I, Daniel, was exhausted and sick for days. Then I got up again and carried on the king’s business… (Daniel 8:27)”

 

 

When I went to bed last night the country where I’m a citizen, Ireland, greatly protected the lives of the unborn.  This morning they do not.  The headlines are pretty in your face about it too; apparently it was a ‘landslide victory’.  But who really wins here?  It most certainly is not the unborn children.  And from counselling I’ve done over the years with women who have had abortions, I can tell you as well that this is not a victory for women, women’s rights, or feminism.  Nobody wins.

 

So where do we go from here?  What is the Christian’s response to this terrible news?  We look to the Scriptures to find these answers and find them in an unusual place.  In Daniel 8 we find the man of God in a pretty familiar position.  He’s alone, in a foreign land, and he’s afraid of the consequences of news he’s just received.  Through a series of visions God communicates to Daniel that his home country of Israel is going to be subject to great uncertainty and turmoil in the next 400 years.  In days to come they can expect the Persians, the Greeks, and worst of all a wicked and appalling ruler named Antiochus Epiphanes.  Not the news that Daniel wanted to hear.  But in Daniel’s reaction to this terrible news, we can learn how we can react to what Irish voters have just done.

 

  1. We Mourn

Daniel was sick.  He didn’t celebrate the bad news.  In similar fashion, he didn’t lash out and try and stage a massive protest.  He mourned.  This is a day of mourning for Ireland.  We have violated God’s law in landslide manner, and there will be a landslide of repercussions for doing so.  Mourn!

 

The pictures are quite saddening coming out of this vote.  There’s the Irish News that in its online report has the picture of a young girl who is exuberant in the streets holding up a sign and celebrating.  There’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar posing for a picture as he casts his vote donning a cheeky grin.  No, this is not a day for rejoicing and it’s not a day for garnering cheap political publicity, it’s a day to mourn.  It’s a time for weeping.

 

  1. We Continue to Pray

Daniel was a man of prayer.  The entire book of Daniel this is Daniel’s main posture is he’s praying.  In chapter 10 we see that Daniel does not return to the Promised Land after the Exile is over (probably he was too old for the journey), but instead he lives out his days in Babylon and he prays.  Prayer changes Christians. Prayer takes the unchanging, unending promises of God and moves them from the head to the heart.  This is where they become solidified and turned into bedrock.  We then take these bedrocks and begin to build our lives upon them.  So that even when the winds of life and social change blow hard against us, we will not be moved because we know deep down who God is and what he has done for us his children.

 

Who is this God we pray to?  He’s the one who promised us that he’d never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  And we look to the cross and see the depths of this promise.  Who is God?  He’s the one who sent his only son Jesus to the cross so that we might be forgiven and that we might know the eternal love that he has for his children.  That is your bedrock.  That is your foundation.

 

And we now have a new prayer to pray.  It is a prayer of repentance.  We now cry out to God for mercy for our land.  We now cry out for mercy for our people.  For those young women who find themselves in a position where they feel pressure to destroy the person living inside of them.  And we pray that we would be understanding and loving with those who follow through with this terrible act on Irish soil.

 

  1. We Continue to Trust.

Daniel got up and went about his business.  Daniel, once again, walks the walk.  And so do we.  Times have changed.  This is the new Ireland in which we all now live.  What do we do, we mourn, we pray, and we carry on with our labours.  Whatever God has called you to do today, you do it to the best of your ability and in ways that bring the maximum amount of glory to God.  And you continue to speak the truth in love to whomever you meet today.  That’s your duty as a Christian.  John Wesley was asked by a man one day, “Mr. Wesley, if you were to die this time tomorrow, what would you do in the remaining twenty-four hours?” He pulled out his itinerary in his pocket, he read it to the man and he said, “That is what I would do.” He would do his duty. Until the Lord came again.  We will do the same.

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