The last several years have defied the predictions and wrecked the confidence of the pollsters, soothsayers and prognosticators. How many times over the last 3-4 years have we shook our heads at election results, referenda, political developments etc and thought, “Who saw that coming?”?
I’ve just finished reading a book on a family divided between East and West Germany, and the book finishes with the dramatic fall of the Iron Curtain and the Berlin Wall in 1989—who saw that coming?
I haven’t heard or read too many predictions for 2020 even though it’s that time of year when pundits of various stripes stare into their crystal ball and give us their insights. Alas, in these days of the internet, failed prediction retrieval is often only a click or two away. Witness these examples from such notable worthies as Bill Gates and others:
1. There is no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance – Steve Balmer, CEO of Microsoft, 2007
2. No need for a computer in the home – Ken Olsen, founder of Digital Equipment Corp in 1977
3. Nobody would ever need more than 640KB of memory on their personal computer– Bill Gates in 1981, (allegedly).
4. Spam will be solved – Bill Gates, 2004.
5. You don’t need a 2Gb hard-drive – Mark Loughridge, 1999 (currently I have somewhere in the region of 10TB, that’s around 5000 times as much, sitting on my desk…what do I know!)
Clearly neither they nor I have nailed it when it comes to technology. And pollsters have found that they haven’t much of success rate either when it comes to politics.
Some of the vast uncertainties that surround us, which have undermined our confidence in making even broad-brush predictions, whether in USA, UK, Ireland, or India, or wherever you may be, cause great stress and anxiety for some.
So can we know anything for certain beyond death and taxes? I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do have something better—God’s word—so I’d like to make a few predictions for 2020 based on it.
1. God’s word will still be surprisingly relevant to people’s lives; sadly many will continue to ignore it.
2. Humanity will not be wiped out by meteor collision, nuclear holocaust, hypersonic missiles, climate change or anything else. The end of the world will only come with the return of Jesus Christ (not necessarily in 2020).
3. Christianity will not die out—the good news of the gospel will still be proclaimed across the world, and accepted by many.
4. Difficulties will come on personal, national and international fronts, and the wise will see them as wake-up calls from God.
5. No-one will find that they are too bad for forgiveness from Jesus, although many will think that they are too good to need it.
6. Pride will still lie at the root of every interpersonal, and international problem—and the solution will still be found in placing ourselves in a right perspective before God.
7. The perpetual search for significance and identity will continue, and fail—yet true and lasting significance, purpose and identity will still be found in the eternal Jesus.
8. A fresh start and new strength will be available from Jesus, no matter what mess you’ve made of your life.
9. People will bemoan a loss of values; yet continue to deny the foundations such values are based on.
10. There will continue to be a famine of hope and shattered dreams in this world—yet Jesus will continue to offer hope, forgiveness, acceptance, love and a future beyond our wildest dreams.
I wish you all a Happy New Year, and pray that in 2020 you will have the peace and confidence that comes from trusting in God’s wise and loving sovereignty; and if you have not yet entrusted yourself to the salvation offered by this gracious and kind God, that 2020 will be the year.