Brigadier Ian Dobbie (Former Chairman, Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Scripture Readers Association):
Presiding Officer, members of the Scottish Parliament, and ladies and gentlemen, I count it a great honour and a pleasure to have been invited to contribute to your time for reflection today for three reasons.
First, I speak to you as one whose ancestors came from Scotland. Indeed, I have had the privilege of visiting Archers’ hall here in Edinburgh to view first hand the silver arrow that one of my forebears won three times no less at Musselburgh in the 1640s.
Secondly, as a soldier, I am delighted to express my admiration for the regiments of Scotland, with which I had some acquaintance during my military service. They have fine records and Scotland has every reason to be proud of them.
Thirdly, though, as a committed Christian, I feel especially privileged to address the elected representatives of a country in which I believe the Christian Gospel has brought incalculable blessing to its people. That in turn has been influential in the benefit that Scotland has given to the world, practically as well as spiritually.
I am well aware that I have the opportunity of speaking to a body that makes massive decisions of significance for your own people and of course for others. Far be it from me, as one who does not reside in Scotland, to seek to presume to impose opinions of my own. However, I hope that you will not think it inappropriate for me to suggest that there is one factor that should not be ignored in these times, and that is the will of God himself for this great nation.
For it occurs to me that, if the God of the Bible has revealed the astonishing extent in which he has displayed his loving care for mankind by giving his son to secure our forgiveness and if we will individually turn to him in repentance and faith, will he not also have a very best plan for the benefit of Scotland’s people?
Indeed, I remind you of two passages of scripture to assure you of that. The first comes from the book of the prophet Jeremiah 29:11:
“I know the plans I have for you ... plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
The second comes from the book of Proverbs 3:5 and 3:6:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”