The past few weeks in Nigeria have been harrowing.
There have been a lot of bad things happening, and if this were a sci-fi movie, we would say the bad guys have been winning, but we will keep watching the movie because good always wins in the end, right?
However, this is reality and in real life, bad people get away with doing bad things to good people.
The thing about real life though, is that when bad things like this happen, we often need a scapegoat, someone to blame, preferably someone who has been said to have control over everything and that someone ends up being God.
In the past week, I have heard a lot of people ask “where was God when this was happening?” “Is God even listening to us?” “Has God abandoned us?”
“Can God just make thunder to fire all those politicians and bad leaders and what not?” “Couldn’t God have protected those people?”
Well, think about it this way: a lot of times during the life of Jesus, there were things God “could” have done to make things easier for Jesus, but He did not. When James and John, sons of thunder wanted to call fire from heaven to consume the people who refused to accept them, Jesus did not approve. (See Luke 9:54).
If the question is whether God had the ability to do what we think He should have done, the answer is: there really isn’t anything God cannot do.
However, God is a God of principles. One of the things I love about God is the fact that He keeps to His word and in His word, He says: “The heavens are the Lord’s, but the earth has He given to the children of men.” (Psalm 115: 16)
When God gave us freewill/the power of choice, He handed the keys of earth to us. It was basically Him saying: “I love you enough to trust you with your choices, your decisions and your territory.”
What does this mean? It means God will not send thunder from heaven to fire corrupt leaders. It means God will not cause the military men to freeze when they were about to shoot, because, from the one who gave the order to kill, to the people who carried it out, God had given free will. God had given them the ability to make a choice.
To be honest, that is the essence of this life that we live – our ability to choose. God did not make puppets.
What God can do, is to turn a seemingly bad situation around for good.
Talking to the Christian Community now, we cannot deny that the events of the past few weeks have had a ripple effect on us. Before now, we Christians exhibited a political apathy that quite frankly was not godly.
We were content to sit on the sidelines and watch while bad leaders ruined our country as long as we were not directly affected, as long as we had a church to go to, cars to drive, prosperity to enjoy. What we did was sprinkle in a few prayers about our country here and there, to fulfill all righteousness.
I am guilty of this too. I have not interceded for Nigeria in the past two years the way I have in the past two weeks. The past two weeks, I have groaned, I have cried, I have prayed, I have spoken over this nation with a passion that amazed me.
Before now, we lived in a selfish bubble, believing that as long as God was in the picture, we were fine. That is until we encountered the #EndSars movement where everyone was a potential victim.
Before now, we avoided politics like the plague, wrongly believing that real Christians don’t engage in politics because it is a dirty game. I mean, one of our own ran for President in the last election and many from our Christian community didn’t vote for him because we didn’t believe that God could send one of us on a mission like that.
Before now, ministry was only for the pulpit, not for politics.
Before now, we were content praying for God to raise Cyruses in government rather than stepping up to be used by God.
Before now, voting was a right that we didn’t bother to exercise because ‘our vote didn’t count”.
Before now, we focused on denominations rather than keeping our eyes on the ball, until we started organizing prayer walks, everyone threw their denominations out the window and joined in.
But guess what, people had to die for the scales to fall from our eyes.
People had to die for us to realise that good governance is up to us and not some abstract entity. People had to die for us to realise that we are powerful as a people, and as a church.
People had to die for us to realise that we need to identify our roles in the road to a new Nigeria – intercessor, funder, politician. Which are you?
We did not realise that we are a body, and if the eye says “I do not want to play my part anymore”, the body is at a disadvantage.
Jesus was not a wimp. Jesus challenged laws, he challenged systems, he challenged leaders. Jesus did not tolerate injustice. (Luke 13:10 – 17)
And if we are to imitate Christ, then Christianity is not about cowering in the dark or turning a deaf ear to things happening around us, or saying: “it is well” or praying selfish prayers for God to protect “our” loved ones.
Christianity is using your voice, it is standing against injustice, it is fighting for what is right, it is fixing bad systems, it is using the authority Christ gave us for good. It is stepping up to the plate to answer the call to be in leadership, it is voting for the right people. It is joining a peaceful protest to create change.
Christianity is not an excuse to sit on the fence, it is a call to action.
And if people had to die for us to learn this, then their deaths are not in vain.
I am not the same. I hope you are not too.