Midwinter Thoughts

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Several years ago my wife and I were spending a few days at a small inn near the town of Baddeck on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. One night I was drawn through the halls and into a parlor by the sounds of Celtic music performed by a small troupe for the benefit of the lodgers. That night a warm fire, soothing music and a friendly crowd formed a shield to the cold, autumn winds outside. When the entertainment concluded, I paused to look at a group of pictures on the walls and noticed one frame containing what looked like a poem.

It was not a poem but a portion of a broadcast made by England's King George VI at the end of 1939, just three months into World War II. Here is what the king said to the Commonwealth nations: "I said to a 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'" ("The Hand of God").

That night I copied those words into my personal journal and have kept them ever since. When I read them, I am reminded of the true source of strength for each of us in time of doubt and fear. Perhaps they have immediacy each year in the midst of dark winter. From the long, cold nights we peer into the future looking for warmer brighter days. But no matter when we face a moment of trial and suffering, these words point us to a sure way forward. It is with our confidence and trust placed firmly in the hand of God. From Him alone comes the true light and safety. We may think we know a better way, but if God is guiding our path, then in the end the path by which He leads will prove to be the better way."

I golig back to the words I wrote again this January. A turning of the calendar year always brings a pause for reflection. We closed out 2007 with a tragic assassination in Pakistan. The world's holiday period was marred by violence-reminding us we do not yet have "peace on earth".

Our articles in this issue take you once again to the tops of our "walls" and give you a view of what lies on the horizon. Europe is slowly taking steps toward a revived power structure that will astound the world. Unexpected events in the Middle East threaten to undue years of diplomacy. The world's only Muslim nation with nuclear weapons is desperately unstable. No one wants to see Pakistan's nuclear arsenal fall into the hands of radical elements.

The world of 2008 is starting out with many question marks. The world economy is going through dramatic changes as the dollar weakens and the Euro strengthens. We may well be at a turning point in our global economy. Other regions, like Asia and the Middle East, will play increasingly larger roles in the world markets. The result could be a weakened position for America.

The way ahead may seem dark and unknown. All the more for our paths to be lit by the knowledge of God. Use your time, now, to understand the world from God's viewpoint. He is giving you a warning along with an opportunity to