Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Zambian by Elections and the book of Daniel

I have said this quite a lot over the years, ‘I have a fundamental problem with people being wrong.’ That is to say I find it difficult to walk away from a discussion where I think the other person has a view of life and living that is wrong because wrong is harmful. Because of this I engage in quite a bit of political conversation, granted the number of people who indulge me on this are few and far between. However for the past couple weeks, almost months, I have found a growing number of people on my side in regards to my view on the poor leadership in Zambia. And not just by the keyboard warriors such as myself. I have seen and heard the uproar in the streets of my home country and thought ‘these people really want to see change.’

The celebrations in full swing

That is why I was shocked to find out that the ruling party in Zambia won the three by-elections that were held this very week. One or two of these races were not even races which makes you wonder what is really going on on the ground. Maybe the people are actually happy? Maybe there is election rigging going on? Maybe the ruling party have one heck of a sales pitch? Either way I was not impressed in the least because for all our talk in Zambia, we seem to be fine with the general direction things are headed. But this line of thought has come just after I finished reading a fantastic book on Daniel by Stuart Olyott titled ‘Dare to Stand Alone.’

Now don’t get ahead of me here, this is not me talking about any political aspirations. Neither is it me talking about taking to the streets with banners and calling for a day of mourning for the country, neither of which would be horrible ideas might I add. Instead I will concentrate on the latter part of the book as it affects my view of life and living in regards to the situation in my home country and the world at large. But a bit of background on that last sentence. Unless you have been living under a rock and sometimes not even then you know that Supreme Court of the United States legalized gay marriage. Also things have not been looking good for people in general let alone Christians in places that are within the reach of the Islamic State.

In short right now being a Christian and or having Christian values is not a popular position to be in. Now having such a view would almost automatically put you in the category of intolerance and stupidity. The latter part of the book of Daniel speaks of times when things will not be going too well for the people of God. An interesting thing is that it does not say much about God’s presence or his work while the world is going through its stages of upheaval. It paints a picture that would be grim if you are not the kind of person to finish reading and this is why it is important to read till the end.

That's how the book looks for anyone interested

The book of Daniel in its final chapters speaks of a time that is centuries ahead, a time that Daniel would not be alive for, it speaks of how that even though it seems all around is going to pieces and God may seem silent he is not silent at all. He will never leave his cause unattended. God shows Daniel that he is sovereign over all and that though it seems all things are spiraling out of control he is the one who ordained it all and nothing is out of his control. This brought so much consolation to God’s people centuries after Daniel was gone. It showed them that even though things look bad God is in control and they were able to see through hindsight how that Daniels prophecy’s for the future came to be. How that leaders who they thought would be the end of them did not wipe them out because God was with them. They had the comfort of knowing the end while they were through the trial.

Bringing this home I need to knock out a couple of things you might think I mean. Firstly, I don’t mean that God is pushing for Zambia to have a better economy and rise from the ashes. Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t but without a doubt he is the one who placed the leaders where they are and they dance to his tune. Secondly, I do not mean that poor leaders will automatically start making good decisions because God has the strings. It is possible but my point is that with all that seems to be going out of hand he is in control. There is a certain level of calm that is attached to knowing that someone who loves you is in control of a situation. And thirdly, I do not mean there will be a turn around to how things were because ‘we are children of God’, it’s possible but that’s not my point. My point is that the bible through multiple examples, literally in every book, shows that God saves his people IN the fire more than he does save them FROM the fire. It is in the fire that we feel his loving embrace, it is in the fire that we know that this world isn’t all there is and that he is more, no, he is ALL that we need.

We are saved in the fire more than we are saved from the fire

I have no idea where things are going for Zambia or worse still the world, well that’s not quite true. I know that my God is going to bring all things to an end someday but the finer details in between I have no clue about. But what I do know is what God painstakingly showed Daniel. That he is in control and that he, God, will be glorified in all. I will end by phrasing it this way. I love and appreciate my father and if I know that no matter what happens around me, my father is the one in charge of the outcome then I will be able to sleep soundly at night because my father will not put me through pain and suffering just to watch me squirm in agony. It is the pain and agony of medicine and I will be better off for it.

Note: This truth will only be relevant to us if we maintain a daily relationship with God through reading his word and prayer because we forget so easily.