God’s predictions for the New Year

Paul the octopus became an international star in 2010 after predicting the winner of the FIFA World Cup of Soccer – and the winners in all six of Germany’s games, including Germany’s losses, which didn’t make him very popular in Germany. He wasn’t very popular with the President of Iran, either, because in his mind Paul the octopus symbolized all that’s wrong with the western world. He even accused the octopus of spreading western propaganda and superstition.

Perhaps he’s not so loopy after all, though, because all he did was observe as thousands of westerners placed their bets on the choices of an octopus, as though the octopus had special powers. Who’s the loopy one now?! No wonder Islam thinks the western world is doomed.

And what made an octopus so popular in the first place? It was the chance for people to make money. Place your bets on a winner and you could make lots of money, and isn’t that what counts in the western world? It was also superstition that made Paul the octopus famous, because he seemed to have the powers of a god in his ability to predict the outcome of a game, and people in the western world like that. We readily create gods out of anything that can predict the future – horoscopes, visions of the end-time, and all the usual tea leaves and New Year’s predictions that have always plagued humanity in an attempt to make the earth feel firmer underfoot.

Truth is, though, we have trouble predicting the weather with absolute certainty beyond the next five days. That’s our limit – which makes one wonder if that’s what God intended to help us realize how limited we are, because it’s obvious by now that neither we, nor the gods of our creation, have the ability to accurately predict what’s going to happen to us. And when we’re ready to admit that, perhaps we’ll look to God who knows exactly what’s going to happen to us, and what the outcome of every human life will be. And it’s very encouraging, because in Ephesians 1:9-10 and Colossians 1:19-20 he tells us that everything is going to work out just fine. He’s got it all sorted out for everybody and everything through his Son, and it’s all to our eternal benefit.

So here are God’s predictions for the New Year: He guarantees through his Son that no matter how bad things appear or become next year, everything is working out exactly as he intended and the end remains the same, that one day we will all experience peace, assurance, trust and joy. And none of it requires an octopus, either.

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